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Judge Steps Down In Case of Indicted Lawmaker

A federal judge has recused himself from hearing the case against an outgoing Kentucky lawmaker and a retired state mine inspector facing bribery charges.

U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves didn't give a reason for stepping away from the case of state Rep. W. Keith Hall and retired inspector Kelly Shortridge in Pikeville earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell has been assigned the case, which is set for trial Jan. 5 in Pikeville.

The men have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say Hall of paying Shortridge more than $46,000 to ignore repeated violations at Hall's Pike County coal mines. Shortridge is also accused of trying to extort more money from Hall.

Hall, a Democrat, represented Pike County in the Kentucky House for 14 years. He lost in the May primary.