Impeached Kentucky prosecutor arrested on federal charges

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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A former prosecutor who was impeached by the Kentucky House and convicted by the Senate earlier this year has been arrested on federal charges and is being held in the Woodford County Detention Center without bond.

Ronnie Lee Goldy, who had been Commonwealth’s Attorney for Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan counties before resigning in February, was arrested in Morehead Friday by the FBI, according to local media reports and confirmed by the FBI.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Goldy was indicted on six counts of honest services wire fraud, six counts of using an interstate communication to commit bribery and two counts of federal program bribery stemming from his relationship with Misty Helton, a criminal defendant in several cases he was prosecuting.

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Specifically, the indictment charges that between 2017 and 2020, Goldy solicited and accepted sexual favors and sexually explicit images from Helton, and in return, he made decisions in criminal cases that benefitted her and pressured other officials to do the same.

Evidence presented during his Senate trial included similar accusations.

The three articles of impeachment and finding of fact included:

  • The Kentucky Supreme Court issued a suspension rendering Goldy unable to fulfill his duties in office, and he was also expelled from the Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Association on a unanimous vote.
  • The nature of Goldy’s communications with the defendant which were done without her lawyer participating.
  • The quid pro quo involving nude photos and a request for nude videos between Helton and Goldy.

The Kentucky Senate voted 34-0 during separate votes on each article of impeachment. This marked the first time since 1888 that the Senate voted to convict and permanently disqualify from office an elected official who had been impeached by the House.

Goldy made his initial appearance on the federal charges Monday at 4 p.m. For the six counts of honest services wire fraud, he faces up to 20 years in prison; for the six counts of electronic communication bribery, he faces a maximum of five years in prison; and for the two counts of federal program bribery, he faces up to 10 years in prison. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by the Court after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.