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Former judge-executive, assistant to stand trial in December on charge of record tampering


PADUCAH, Kentucky — Former McCracken County Judge-Executive Van Newberry and former Deputy Judge-Executive Doug Harnice will soon stand trial after being accused of tampering with public records.

The Paducah Sun reports (http://bit.ly/1N8IJhx) Newberry and Harnice will go to trial Dec. 14. They're charged with one count each of tampering with public records.

Both were indicted by a grand jury in January 2014 following an investigation. The two were accused of altering the county's zoning maps without following proper procedures. Paducah attorney Burton Washburn said he discovered the changes in 2013 and concluded hundreds of parcels had been illegally rezoned from 2007 to 2008.

The trial was originally set for January, but was postponed when prosecutor G.L. Ovey retired.

Special Circuit Judge Dennis Foust, who was appointed to the case after two circuit judges in McCracken County recused themselves, said it is common for such delays when there are so many new faces on a case.

"Anytime you have a special judge and a special prosecutor and a change in prosecutors in the middle of the stream it creates a time issue," he said. "That's basically what it boils down to."

Attorney Will Kautz, who's representing both Newberry and Harnice, says his clients are innocent.

"I think they're going to be found not guilty," he said.

Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com

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