Judge says former Kentucky Democratic Party chair must report to prison

Published 9:30 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A former Kentucky Democratic Party chair must report to prison next month on campaign finance charges, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove ordered Jerry Lundergan to go to prison on Nov. 30 after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 74-year-old’s conviction and rejected a motion to suspend the judgment, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday. He was allowed to remain free while appealing.

A jury convicted Lundergan and political consultant Dale Emmons in September 2019 of conspiring to illegally contribute more than $200,000 from one of Lundergan’s companies to the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign of his daughter. Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state from 2012 to 2020, lost the race to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Van Tatenhove sentenced Lundergan in July 2020 to spend 21 months in prison and to pay a $150,000 fine.

The businessman and former state representative’s attorney, J. Guthrie True, told the Herald-Leader his client will report to prison next month but will also continue his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A court document shows that if the high court accepts his case, Lundergan will argue that applying the ban on corporate communications to him violated his First Amendment rights because he contributed to a close family member.