Five of the "Clay Eight" plead guiltyThey say they are just glad it's over. Some of the men in the so-called "Clay Eight" case pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Lexington federal court. Former superintendent Doug Adams, former County Clerk Freddy Thompson and others took a plea deal in the case.
Cameras were not allowed inside the Lexington federal courthouse but Judge Karen Caldwell asked the four defendants one by one if they wanted to plead guilty. Doug Adams, Williams Stivers, Freddy Thompson, and Charles Wayne Jones all answered yes.
Jones’ attorney Scott White told us, "I think my client is very glad to have this chapter in his life nearly over."
The former Clay County superintendent, former county clerk, and former election workers took plea deals in the case that accused them of a conspiracy to buy thousands of votes in local elections from 2002 to 2007. They were once convicted but a federal appeals court threw out the convictions.
Wednesday, Adams, Jones, Stivers, and Thompson pleaded guilty to racketeering.
“We’re just happy that quite frankly that we’ve been able to come to an end of this long saga,” said White.
Adams and Stivers are in custody but as part of the deal, the judge agreed to release them until they are sentenced.
Doug Adams attorney Kent Westberry said, “I know Doug’s family is grateful to have him home. He’ll be home for dinner.”
The U.S. attorney recommended 75 months in prison for Adams, 72 months for Stivers, 69 months for Jones and 66 months for Thompson.
The four defendants waived the right to appeal the guilty plea. They also agreed to forfeit property that investigators seized in the case. Sentencing is scheduled for February 19th.
We have also learned that former Circuit Judge Cletus Maricle also pleaded guilty in the case late on Wednesday afternoon to the same charges as the other four. This was not expected and happened after the other four appeared in court. The U.S. Attorney say Maricle could serve up to 87 months.