Farmer trial delay gives lawyers more time

May 17, 2013

The trial date for former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has been rescheduled to 10 a.m. Oct. 22, a federal judge ordered Wednesday. Farmer’s attorney, Guthrie True, had asked U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to delay the proceeding to February from its original July 2 trial date.

Credit Lexington Herald-Leader file photo

True cited the complex nature of Farmer’s case, which spans his final term in office from 2008 to 2011, and scheduling conflicts with other cases. True said he has already received 16 compact discs of potential evidence against Farmer. 

In an order filed Wednesday, Van Tatenhove agreed that the trial date should be pushed back given the amount of evidence and preparation needed for such a complex case. 

However, noting Farmer, 43, is a former public official accused of “abusing the public’s money and trust,” Van Tatenhove cited the public’s right to have a resolution in the matter in setting the Oct. 22 start date. 

Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball star who once had a seemingly bright political future, 

has been charged with five felonies, allegedly misappropriating $450,000 while in office. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if convicted.

“The Court finds that the complexity of the case necessitates a continuance in order to allow Farmer the opportunity to adequately prepare his defense; however, for the present time, that continuance should be for a more limited duration than the one proposed by Farmer so as to ensure that the public’s interest in a speedy trial is protected as well,” Van Tatenhove wrote in his order.

A federal grand jury indicted Farmer last month, accusing him of a number of wrongdoings such as taking excess gifts including rifles, knives and watches intended for visiting agriculture officials for a convention partially funded by Kentucky tax dollars and creating “special assistant” positions filled by his personal friends.

Farmer’s trial will be held in U.S. District Court in Frankfort.