The Kentucky Senate’s first impeachment committee held its first hearing Tuesday over a former state prosecutor who allegedly traded legal favors for nude photos and videos.
Former Commonwealth Attorney Ronnie Goldy Jr. — representing Rowan, Menifee, Bath, and Montgomery counties — was impeached by the House in February over allegations of requesting nude photos in exchange for legal favors for a woman from Bath County.
The Senate is waiting on additional documentation from the House and a potential decision could be made by next Monday.
Neither Goldy nor his legal counsel appeared before the impeachment committee this week.
Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders testified during the House impeachment hearings in February. Sanders told the committee during his testimony, “if not now, when would you ever impeach a Commonwealth Attorney?”
Sanders’ testimony came after the Kentucky Commonwealth Attorneys Association pushed for the impeachment of Goldy and removed him from the organization.
The House impeached Goldy 97-0 in February, but only after he resigned from his position the day before the vote. If impeached by the Senate, it would prevent Goldy from running for future offices.
The House committee reviewed 199 pages of Facebook messages between Goldy and a woman in Bath County regarding her criminal cases and findings from a special report.
In the final report from the House Committee, it concurred with the facts presented by the Special Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court. The findings showed that Goldy was in personal contact with the woman from Bath County and discussed her criminal cases without the presence of her lawyer.
“It’s important for Ronnie Goldy to be impeached because Kentuckians must have faith in the criminal justice system, but that’s not possible when a Commonwealth’s Attorney is being dishonest and abusing the public’s trust,” Sanders said.
In a letter to the House impeachment committee, Goldy denied the allegations and said the messages between him and the woman weren’t what “have been reported.”
“I can tell you at no time did I ever ask for nude images or video,” Goldy said, though he did say he helped the Bath County woman, and she sent nude photos without being prompted.
In one text message after the woman sent nude photos, she said, “Isn’t that one of the hottest pics ever? Convince me otherwise.”
Goldy swore in his letter that he never requested the photos, but then the women requested to trade pictures and videos for money. Goldy repeatedly denied that he asked for any pictures or videos.
Brian Wright, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 29th Judicial District that includes Adair and Casey counties, testified to the Senate committee that there was no way to read through the context of those messages that Goldy was seeking was “almost begging for.”
“There were exchanges clearly of nude photographs, and there was request after request after request for these videos,” Wright said. “And it was clear that those videos are inappropriate in nature.”
Wright also detailed how allegedly Goldy abused his power by getting the judges and other prosecutors to do things only he could do in his role, such as getting a car and cell phone released from evidence.
Sanders said he believed that Goldy made a victim out of a criminal, and while his actions might not technically be criminal since he didn’t use “forcible compulsion” as the law requires, they should be.
“In my opinion, Goldy’s actions were a form of sexual abuse because a defendant can never truly consent to sex acts if the person requesting them can take away her freedom and send her to prison,” Sanders said. “Prosecutors are entrusted with a great deal of power, and with it comes a duty to act responsibly.”
The impeachment committee is the first since 1885, when the upper chamber convicted state Treasurer James “Honest Dick” Tate for stealing around $200,000 from the Commonwealth before fleeing. He was never found.