Timothy Nolan, a former judge and school board member who served as a county chair in Kentucky for the Donald Trump campaign in 2016, pleaded guilty to 21 counts related to human trafficking charges going back to 2004.
Cincinnati.com reported Sunday that Nolan, “used drugs, threats of arrest and threats of eviction to force women and girls under the age of 18 into sex acts, according to the charges read in court by Judge Kathleen Lape.”
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“In addition to human trafficking and attempted human trafficking, the charges included giving drugs and alcohol to minors. Under the plea agreement, Nolan will serve 20 years in prison and pay a $100,000 fine. He would be eligible for parole in four years…”
Nolan’s case has shocked the region, where he was a well known figure for some time. After a career in local politics, the bulk of it spent serving as a state district court judge in the 70s and 80s, Nolan became a high profile conservative operative in the Northern Kentucky suburbs outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
He helped fuel the Tea Party movement in Kentucky in its early years following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, and rose to prominence nationally in far right conservative circles.
More recently he ran for local school board and served on the Kentucky Athletic Commission before controversial social media comments forced him to resign.
Nolan would have faced more than 100 years in prison had he stood trial and been found guilty of every charge, which included multiple counts of human trafficking of a minor.
Under the plea deal, however, Nolan not only avoids punishment for the most egregious of the charges, he avoids an admission of intent for many of the charges he’s pleaded guilty. As Cincinatti.com’s Scott Wartman writes, “Some of Nolan’s pleas were Alford pleas, which means he doesn’t admit to the behavior but believes there’s overwhelming evidence to convict him.”
This loophole also means Nolan can appeal the charges at a later date. It’s unclear exactly how and why the district attorney agreed to wipe 80 years off of the potential sentence, and comments made after Nolan’s guilty pleas were submitted shed little light on the mystery.
“The punishment in this case does not undo the trauma inflicted on the victims, but it brings closure and some justice,” a statement by Attorney General Andy Beshear reads.
Not exactly a thorough explanation, but at least Nolan is now behind bars and his reputation ruined, as it should be.