Criminal Justice

Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Paying Sheriff for Client Referrals, Favorable Treatment

A Kentucky lawyer has pleaded guilty to paying more than $57,000 to a former sheriff for drug client referrals and favorable treatment of the defendants.

The Williamsburg, Ky., lawyer, Ronnie Wayne Reynolds, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit extortion, according to and

Court documents allege that Reynolds conspired on at least three occasions with former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge, who referred clients to Reynolds in exchange for part of the legal fees. Reynolds then encouraged the clients to make forfeiture payments or cash donations to the sheriff’s office in exchange for a favorable resolution of their cases, the documents claim.

Hodge has not been charged in the federal case, but he is facing state charges of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his office, says. A November story at has more information.

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