Kentucky commonwealth attorney admits to trading leniency for sexual favors, methamphetamine

Published 1:33 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

A Kentucky commonwealth attorney admitted to trading leniency for sexual favors and methamphetamine, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The former Commonwealth’s Attorney, for the 33rd Judicial Circuit of Kentucky, Scott Blair, 52, of Hazard, Ky., pleaded guilty on Friday, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram, to committing honest services wire fraud.

According to his guilty plea agreement, between April 2020 and March 2024, Blair knowingly and intentionally devised a scheme to fraudulently deprive the citizens of Perry County of their right to his honest services, as the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney, through bribery. On multiple occasions, Blair agreed to take official actions, in his position as the Commonwealth’s Attorney – including making recommendations on probation, drug court, and probation violations or sanctions for defendants he was prosecuting – in exchange for methamphetamine and sexual favors.

“Whenever prosecutors reject their official duties for the public, and instead abuse their positions for personal benefit, that does continuing damage to us all,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “It not only victimizes individuals, but it demeans the true work of law enforcement, undermines fairness and public safety, and diminishes faith in the criminal justice system. This conviction is an important step toward restoring the necessary integrity and faith in the system and preventing this grave misconduct.”

“Blair’s conduct undermines the confidence the public deserves to have in their government officials,” said Michael E. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Louisville Field Division. “The public relies on its Commonwealth’s Attorneys to maintain and validate its faith in our criminal justice system. As he admitted today, Blair betrayed that trust by engaging in a scheme that spanned years and corrupted the fair administration of justice for personal gain. The FBI will pursue corrupt actors without fear or favor, and the people of Perry County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky deserve nothing less.”

“All Kentuckians – including the people of Perry County – deserve prosecutors with integrity and public servants they can trust. Scott Blair violated that trust and broke the law,” said Attorney General Russell Coleman. “This conviction will help restore public safety in this community, and it is an example of the zealous collaboration between our Office and our partners that is key to protecting Kentucky families.”

“I commend the outstanding work conducted by our detectives along with our federal partners, into this investigation” said KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett, Jr. “We hope this will bring closure to the citizens of Perry County and renew their trust in the justice system.”

United States Attorney Shier; Special Agent in Charge Stansbury; Kentucky Attorney General Coleman; and Commissioner Burnett, jointly announced the guilty plea.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, and the KSP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Blankenship is prosecuting the matter on behalf of the United States.

The Court will enter a separate order setting a date for sentencing. Blair faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal sentencing statutes before imposing its sentence.