BluegrassReport.org has just learned that the Franklin County grand jury has just returned an indictemnt moments ago against Acting Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert for "intimidating a whistleblower" (not sure of exact title of the statute) -- a Class A misdemeanor.I, like many Democrats who maintain a blog, will keep readers informed of the latest news. This is a unfortunate surprise to the Fletcher administration. What it means for Democrats will be undetermined for some time.
Apparently (and stupidly), Nighbert's acts were committed AFTER Governor Fletcher issued pardons to Nightbert and others last month and was committed against a woman who works for the Transportation Cabinet who had provided testimony to the grand jury after being granted whistleblower protection.
The AP now has an article up.
According to the indictment, Nighbert sought to punish a Transportation Cabinet personnel official and threatened her. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
The indictment said the target of Nighbert's ire, Missy McCray, testified Tuesday before the grand jury, shortly before it returned the indictment.
The indictment alleged that between Aug. 1 and Sept. 16, Nighbert rejected a supervisor's recommendation that McCray get an award for superior work because she previously testified to the special grand jury. Furthermore, the indictment said, Nighbert said to McCray, "that if it were 20 years ago 'I probably would have come back there and socked you in the mouth,'" the indictment said.
The timing of the alleged crime could raise a question about the application of Fletcher's earlier pardon. In his pardon, Fletcher sought to extend an amnesty for any charge that might arise from the special grand jury investigation. The pardon also limited its effects to crimes that might have occurred up to Aug. 29, the day Fletcher issued the pardons.
Prosecutor Scott Crawford-Sutherland and Nighbert's attorney, Howard Mann, differed sharply on the reach of Fletcher's pardon.
"We believe that Secretary Nighbert received a full, complete and unconditional pardon," Mann said in a telephone interview.
Crawford-Sutherland said Fletcher's pardon didn't specifically include violations of the state whistleblower law. Crawford-Sutherland declined to provide further details of the charges.