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U.S. Attorney Coleman examining Bevin's pardon recipients for possible federal crimes

(WYMT)
Published: Dec. 31, 2019 at 10:30 AM EST
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U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman told reporters Monday he will determine if any of the state inmates pardoned by former Gov. Matt Bevin also committed any federal crimes.

“I will say this in regard to the underlying conduct in these pardons that were received ... if the underlying conduct took place in the Western District of Kentucky, it will be treated like any other violation of federal law,” Coleman said. “We’ll look at it through the lens of the statute of limitations, we’ll look at it through the lens of double jeopardy. But if the underlying conduct meets our federal standards, we will aggressively prosecute.”

Coleman made the comments during a news conference called to discuss cooperation with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on issues like elder fraud.

Neither Coleman nor Cameron would comment on the FBI’s investigation into Bevin’s pardons.

At a separate event, Gov. Andy Beshear criticized the way Bevin issued the pardons and referenced Bevin’s comments about the lack of evidence in a child rape case.

During a recent interview with Louisville radio host Terry Meiners, Bevin defended his decision to pardon Micah Schoettle, a man sentenced in Kenton County in 2018 to 23 years in prison for the rape of a 9-year-old. His pardon also released Schoettle from being on the sex-offender registry.

Meiners asked the former governor more than once about the victim in the Schoettle case, as well as another child, to which Bevin replied, “There was zero evidence, zero. Both their hymens were intact. This is perhaps more specific than people would want.”

“I will always consider the rights and feelings of our victims,” Beshear said. “I will never pardon a violent crime without talking to a victim or their family first. That’s the very least that we ought to do, especially in some of those circumstances. And you will never see me talk about a child in the way that this governor just recently did.”

Beshear said he had no knowledge of the ongoing FBI investigation.