Some friendly advice for Bill Nighbert
We have no doubts that Bill Nighbert, the beleaguered former Kentucky Transportation Cabinet secretary, is well-served by his legal counsel, Howard Mann of Corbin.
However, we'd like to offer Mr. Nighbert, whom we are fond of personally and professionally, some advice to maximize his possibility for vindication.
1.) Mr. Mann should move for a severance of the cases. Nighbert should not be tried with Leonard Lawson, Brian Billings, or anyone else who may be indicted in the future in connection with this case.
2.) Mann should move to exercise his client's right to a speedy trial. The indictment of Nighbert broke no new ground and offered no proof of the assertions made weeks earlier in a leaked affidavit that Nighbert's post-LRC employment was actually a front for bribe money from Leonard Lawson. Since the government offered no proof of their allegation, it's pretty obvious their evidence is shaky. Nighbert should take full advantage of this and demand a speedy trial.
3.) Most importantly, Mann ought to move for a change of venue outside the Commonwealth of Kentucky, if possible. The state's largest papers, most notably the Lexington Herald-Leader, has blatantly tried to influence the jury pool by blasting Nighbert at every opportunity and running unflattering stories about him. Public opinion has definitely been tainted against Nighbert, as evidenced by the dozens of uninformed blog posts that are made about him on PolWatchers and other blogs across the state. This trial ought to be moved outside the state to a place where no one ever heard of Bill Nighbert and few know of Ernie Fletcher or Greg Stumbo.
As of this moment, we're confident the facts will exonerate Nighbert, but with passions as inflamed as they are due to the Fletcher-hating media stoking the fire, why take chances? If Nighbert's fate rests with a dozen people too dumb to get out of jury duty, anything can happen, especially if those jurors are dumb enough to believe everything they read in the Herald-Leader.