Kennamore guilty plea means Kent's re-election in New Albany

NEW ALBANY – Mayoral candidate Jerry Kennamore is expected to plead guilty Friday to one count of forgery in connection with an ongoing vote fraud investigation.
City Attorney Robert M. Carter said Kennamore will plead guilty to signing his daughter’s name as an attesting witness on an absentee ballot. He faces a $1,000 fine, court costs and a 10-year suspended sentence.
The plea ensures that incumbent Mayor Tim Kent, who is seeking a second term, will return to office because Kennamore will agree never to run for public office again.
Unaware of many of the details Wednesday afternoon, Kent said, “I’m just glad the attorney general’s office had a swift and thorough investigation. I think now maybe we can come back together as a city, work things out and get some things done.”
Efforts to contact Kennamore and his attorney, Micheal McHenry of Tupelo, were unsuccessful late Wednesday.
District Attorney Ben Creekmore said he expects Kennamore’s guilty plea during a Circuit Court hearing at 1 p.m.
The plea comes three weeks after state and city officials announced an investigation into reports of vote fraud in the May 5 party primary. At issue were 53 absentee ballots.
Kennamore’s name will remain on the ballot and the election will proceed as scheduled Tuesday.
For a candidate’s name not to appear on the ballot, Carter said, state law requires that he or she submit a request to withdraw at least 10 days before the election.
Kennamore has served two terms as alderman and ran for mayor in 2001 and 2005. As part of the plea agreement, he will never again run for office and will refrain from all activity relating to affidavit and absentee ballots.
Kennamore has served two terms as alderman and ran for mayor in 2001 and 2005. As part of the plea agreement, he will never again run for office and will refrain from all activity relating to affidavit and absentee ballots.
Kennamore will ask City Clerk Anne Neal to place notices at the polling places informing voters that he has submitted a withdrawal letter and does not intend to serve if elected.
Carter said that if the judge accepts his plea, the forgery investigation likely will end.
If Kennamore fails to abide by the terms of his plea agreement, Creekmore said, he could face other criminal action.

Lynn West / New Albany News-Exchange