The Chatter: Ex Social Security judge pleads guilty to bribes from former disability attorney Eric Conn

05/13/2017 04:30 PM

A former Social Security Administration judge has pleaded guilty to accepting more than $600,000 in bribes from former disability lawyer Eric Conn as he approved benefits for thousands of the disgraced attorney’s clients, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Friday.

David Black Daugherty pleaded guilty to two felony counts of accepting illegal gratuities, charges that could land the former judge behind bars for up to four years, and agreed to pay $609,000 in restitution, according to the report.

Daugherty’s plea comes about two months after Conn, who earned $7.1 million through the scheme that also involved falsified medical records, pleaded guilty to charges of theft and bribing a federal judge, the newspaper reported.

From the Herald-Leader:

Conn said Daugherty told him in October 2004 that his decisions were making Conn a lot of money and asked Conn for $5,000 to pay for addiction treatment for a family member.

Daugherty confirmed that account in his plea Friday.

Conn began paying Daugherty monthly after that.

One of the charges covered in Daugherty’s plea was for cash he took in Floyd County. The other was for bribes he took in Lawrence County, where he met Conn in a parking lot in Louisa from 2006 through 2011 to take cash.

That was after Daugherty stopped bothering to come to Prestonsburg to hear Conn’s cases, instead deciding them without holding hearings.

Less than half of Conn’s former clients were able to keep their disability benefits after their cases were revisited, the report says.

Yarmuth predicts McConnell-led Senate won’t vote on ACA repeal

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, said Friday that he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not allow the Senate to vote on the American Health Care Act, the House Republicans’ proposal to repeal and replace parts of the federal health law known as Obamacare, CNHI News reports.

Yarmuth, speaking to a Frankfort civic group Together Frankfort, said he sees “at least a half-dozen” GOP senators who could be vulnerable if they voted for the Senate’s expected changes to the ACHA, according to the report.

“I’m convinced that Mitch McConnell will not allow anything to get out of the Senate because he doesn’t want any one of his members to have to take a vote on healthcare,” Yarmuth told the audience, according to CNHI.

Robert Steurer, a McConnell spokesman, pointed CNHI back to a floor speech earlier in the week in which the Kentucky Republican said the Affordable Care Act is failing and that he welcomes input from Democrats as Senate Republicans mark up the ACHA.

10 arrested at abortion clinic protest

Ten anti-abortion protestors were arrested Saturday after blocking the entrance of Louisville’s EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s lone abortion provider, according to The Courier Journal.

The newspaper reports the protestors are part of Operation Save America, and an Indiana pastor with the group, Rev. Joseph Spurgeon, said the organization chose the clinic because it’s the only abortion provider in the state and as an appeal to Gov. Matt Bevin.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services has moved to pull the clinic’s license because it says it lacks appropriate agreements with a hospital and ambulance service, but a federal judge has issued an order preventing the clinic’s closure until the case is resolved, according to the report.

Apple invests $200 million in Harrodsburg glass plant

Apple announced Friday its plans to invest $200 million in a Harrodsburg plant that provides scratch-resistant glass for popular iPhones and iPads, according to the Associated Press.

Corning Inc. officials said the company has made 552 million square feet of its Gorilla Glass for Apple products over the past 10 years and that the $200 million would help protect 400 jobs at its Harrodsburg plant, according to the AP.

The investment is from Apple’s new Advanced Manufacturing Fund.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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