Former Monroe County Judge-Executive Sentenced to 12 Months and One Day in Prison and Ordered to Pay a $5,000 Fine
Guilty of Conspiracy in Vote-Buying Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 20, 2011|
BOWLING GREEN, KY—Wilbur P. Graves, age 54, the former Monroe County Judge-Executive of Tompkinsville, Kentucky has been sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph H. McKinley today, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. After a three-day trial, Graves was found guilty on March 4, 2011, by a federal jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, of conspiring with others to buy votes during the November 2006 general election in order to re-elect himself.
“This prison sentence sends a message to all those who would attempt to corrupt our democratic process through vote-buying,” stated United States Attorney Hale. “We will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who seek to undermine the integrity of elections in Kentucky.”
According to information presented at trial, in October and November, 2006, Graves conspired with Wanda L. Moore, Ronald D. Muse, and Gary M. Bartley, all of Tompkinsville, Kentucky, to pay voters to cast walk-in absentee ballots. Those being paid for their vote would file a voter assistance form that falsely stated that they were blind, disabled or unable to read English and thus in need of assistance to vote. Members of the conspiracy would then accompany the voters into the booth to cast the voters’ ballots for Graves and other candidates. The money used to pay the voters was provided by Graves, who was running for County Judge-Executive. Graves won the 2006 election for Monroe County Judge-Executive that had been tainted by the vote-buying scheme.
During the three day trial, Moore testified that Graves had given her money to buy votes and that she had paid a number of people for their votes, with some receiving $40 and others $60. Moore also testified that she cooperated with the FBI investigation by secretly recording two conversations with Graves about paying for votes during the election. The video recordings were presented to jurors during the trial before Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr. Muse, another conspirator, testified during trial that he received money from Graves to pay for votes during meetings at Graves’ home or farm. Muse and Moore entered plea agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office and agreed to testify at trial. Muse has been sentenced for his role in the scheme, while Moore has not yet been sentenced. Bartley pleaded guilty to his role in the vote buying scheme and has been be sentenced.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas W. Dyke and Randy Ream together with Edward Kang, a Trial Attorney with the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.