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Ronnie Goldy Jr., impeached commonwealth attorney, arrested by FBI

Commonwealth's Attorney Ronnie Goldy

Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Goldy

Former Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Goldy Jr., who was impeached for trading favors with a defendant in exchange for nude images of her, has been arrested by the FBI and charged with bribery and theft of honest services.

He is being held in Woodford County County Detention Center pending his initial appearance and arraignment at 4 p.m. Monday in U.S. District Court in Lexington. He was arrested at his home Friday.

His case was assigned to Judge Danny Reeves.

The 14-count indictment was unsealed Friday, and the penalty on the most serious charges − six counts of bribery − is a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Goldy’s attorney, Scott Hayworth of Lexington, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages.

The Courier Journal first reported in July 2022 that Goldy, then commonwealth’s attorney for Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan counties, exchanged Facebook messages with defendant Misty Helton in which he promised to help her with her criminal cases in exchange for nude photos and videos of herself.

The newspaper cited hundreds of messages − some of which are included in the indictment − showing Goldy told the woman that if she sent him the nude images, he would talk to judges about continuing her cases and setting aside warrants.

Goldy was impeached by the Senate in March as commonwealth’s attorney for the 21st Judicial Circuit. Under the state Constitution, he can no longer hold public office.

WLEX TV reported in July 2023 that Goldy was under investigation by a federal agency that had interviewed Helton.

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who helped expose Goldy’s relationship with Helton, said Friday that additional people may be under investigation.

The indictment refers to Helton as “Individual A,” and says that over the years he helped her, 2016-19, they had a personal relationship.

Prosecutors say Goldy asked for and Helton gave him explicit photos in exchange for help on her charges that included assault and trafficking in controlled substances.

For example, the indictment says in November 2017, after Helton was arrested and held in custody for probation violations, Goldy approached the judge presiding over three cases and asked, “Can we get her out?”

In August 2018, when Helton was being held on warrants, Goldy approached the presiding judge and told him she was “working with law enforcement” and said “we need to get her out, if possible.”

In November 2019, he told another judge that Helton was his “cousin” and suggested a drug trafficking charge against her be amended.

Under the federal Honest Services fraud statute, it is a crime to misuse an individual’s position or authority for personal gain or advantage.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Ronnie Goldie Jr. arrested by FBI