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BREAKING: Former mayor, five others indicted in vote-buying conspiracy

Ralph B. Davis rdavis@civitasmedia.com

December 20, 2013

LONDON — Former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson and five others, including her husband and step-son, stand accused of a conspiracy to buy votes during her failed 2012 re-election bid, according to an indictment made public Friday.


Robinson, James “Red” Robinson, James Steven Robinson, Ginger Michelle Halbert, Johnny T. Moore and Henry A. Mulins are each accused with a single count of civil rights conspiracy. Ruth Thomasine Robinson, James “Red” Robinson, Moore and Mullins also each face a single count of vote-buying, while James Steven Robinson is charged with three counts of vote-buying. Halbert is the only defendant not charged with vote-buying.


According to the indictment, the six conspired to induce public housing residents and tenants renting homes owned by the former mayor to vote for her by absentee ballot, using an already completed ballot. Some of the voters were allegedly told they could get better apartments if they voted for Ruth Thomasine Robinson, while others were allegedly told they would face eviction if they did not. And the indictment alleges the defendants backed up those threats.


“It was part of the conspiracy that one or more of the defendants caused residents and tenants to be evicted because they believed they had not voted, or had voted incorrectly,” the indictment reads. “It was part of the conspiracy that Ruth Thomasine Robinson directed Martine police officers to serve eviction notices on tenants.


“It was part of the conspiracy that on at least one occasion, two of the defendants harassed a qualified voters about voting to the point that the voter would not come out of his apartment to vote because he was in fear of physical harm.”


The vote-buying counts do not identify the voters who were allegedly paid, except by the initials A.H., J.H., R.W., C.S., K.F. and R.C.


All six defendants have been ordered to appear Jan. 7, in U.S. District Court, in Pikeville, to answer the charges.


In the event of conviction, the conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 in fines. The vote-buying charges each carry maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $250,000 in fines.