Ex-Ky. judge gets 26-plus years for vote fraud

A former judge has been sentenced to more than 26 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to gain power and control politics in an eastern Kentucky county.

U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said 67-year-old former Clay County Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle headed the conspiracy and therefore got the longest sentence so far.

Maricle and seven others were convicted in March 2010 of multiple charges, including racketeering, money laundering and voter fraud.

Prosecutors say more than 8,000 people were paid $50 each for their votes in one election and 150 votes were stolen by changing voting machines.

Maricle said little during the 45 minute hearing, noting he testified at trial. Friends and family sent letters asking for leniency. His attorneys say he will appeal.