State News in Brief

Federal judge says Ky. can sue Marathon Oil

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky has scored its first victory in its federal antitrust lawsuit against Marathon Petroleum Co.

The Courier-Journal reports that a judge recently denied most of the oil company’s motion to dismiss the claims, meaning the case will move forward.

Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry says the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The office of former Attorney General Jack Conway sued Marathon last May, saying Marathon violated federal laws by using supply agreements and deed restrictions on real estate to limit competition. Conway argued that as a consequence, some Kentucky customers had to pay higher prices at the gas pump.

Marathon’s lawyers responded by saying, in part, that Conway didn’t have authority to recover damages under the Clayton Antitrust Act.

Judge David Hale ruled last week in favor of the state. All but one of the claims brought by Kentucky will proceed.


Some push lawmakers to allow forced mental health treatment

FRANKFORT (AP) — State lawmakers have heard hours of emotional testimony about why mental health advocates believe the state needs a law allowing judges to order some people to get treatment.

Kentucky’s Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare heard testimony from mental health patients and parents on Wednesday advocating for a new law to let judges order outpatient mental health treatment for some people if they meet certain criteria. The testimony included comments from Kelly Gunning, who said her son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has refused treatment. She said her son assaulted her and her husband in January and is now in jail facing felony assault charges.

Kentucky Public Advocate Ed Monahan opposes the idea, saying treatment works best if it is voluntarily. He worried the proposal would violate individual liberty.


Beshear: Retirement board violated Open Meetings Law

FRANKFORT (AP) — Attorney General Andy Beshear says the Kentucky Retirement Systems board has violated the state Open Meetings Law.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin removed Thomas Elliot, the board’s chairman, from the board in April. But Elliott refused to leave. Last month, Bevin’s office sent state troopers to a board meeting and threatened to arrest Elliott if he participated.

Beshear said the board, through its actions and the actions of other state agencies, violated the Open Meetings Law because the presence of state troopers before and during the meeting created an atmosphere that chilled or confined the public’s right to freely attend the meeting.

Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper said Beshear’s ruling was politically motivated. She said the state troopers were present to prevent disruption in light of Elliott’s refusal to obey Bevin’s order.


Man arrested on terrorism charges wants sentence vacated

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — A former Bowling Green resident serving a life sentence on terrorism-related charges wants to have his sentence vacated.

The Daily News reports that 28-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi testified in federal court Tuesday, arguing that his former attorney, James Earhart, was ineffective.

Hammadi says Earhart assured him he would get a lesser sentence if he pleaded guilty to all charges in a 12-count indictment accusing him of attempting to provide resources to al-Qaida in 2011.

Hammadi says a written plea agreement was not entered and contends that Earhart should not have allowed him to plead guilty without a written agreement. He argues that he had little knowledge of the legal process or the English language.

Earhart says he advised Hammadi the government was going to ask for a life sentence.


Wash. trucker pleads guilty in fatal wreck in Ky.

SHELBYVILLE (AP) — A Washington tractor-trailer driver has pleaded guilty in an accident that killed one person in Kentucky in May 2015.

The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says in a news release that 23-year-old Miroslav Kuzmanovic of Lakewood, Washington, entered the plea Monday to manslaughter, wanton endangerment and prohibited use of a handheld device.

The release says Kuzmanovic was on the device and failed to notice that traffic ahead on Interstate 64 had slowed for a motorist on the side of the highway. His truck hit a car in front of him, killing the driver instantly. Three other vehicles also were involved.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 15 in Shelby County Circuit Court.


Prosecutors: Former judge tried to retaliate against worker

FRANKFORT (AP) — A former federal judge in West Virginia has pleaded guilty to attempting to have a Social Security Administration employee fired.

Charlie Paul Andrus pleaded guilty Monday in Kentucky to one count of conspiracy to retaliate against a witness. He’s scheduled to be sentenced this fall, and could face up to 10 years in prison, a fine or both.

Prosecutors say Andrus was embarrassed after a criminal investigation into his office led to his demotion in 2011. They say Andrus colluded with high-profile Kentucky disability attorney Eric Conn to spy on a federal employee they knew was providing the incriminating evidence to investigators. Prosecutors say Andrus and Conn hoped to gather evidence that would get the employee fired.

Attorneys for Andrus and Conn did not respond to a request for comment.

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