FBI Is Looking Into Bevin’s Pardons Of People Convicted Of Heinous Crimes

Outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin (R)(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
December 24, 2019 10:14 a.m.

The FBI is reportedly inquiring about the multiple pardons former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) issued right before he left office.

Earlier this month, Bevin issued so many pardons before his final day in office that the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office has struggled to keep up. Among the 428 pardons and commutations, Bevin issued some to people convicted of extremely violent crimes such as Patrick Baker who was convicted in Knox County Circuit Court in 2017 of murder, robbery, impersonating a peace officer and tampering with physical evidence, per the pardon order.

According to a Courier Journal report Monday, State Rep. Chris Harris (D) said he was contacted by a criminal investigator last week and asked whether he had any information on Bevin’s pardons.

“I can confirm that I have been contacted by someone looking into the pardons that were issued by Gov. Bevin on his way out the door,” Harris said, without elaborating on what questions he was asked nor the law enforcement agency who contacted him. “The impression I got is that there was an investigation ramping up.”

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The Courier Journal reported that two sources with knowledge of the inquiry confirmed on Monday that an FBI agent had spoken with Harris. When asked by The Courier Journal late Monday night for comment, an FBI spokeswoman declined and said the agency could “neither confirm nor deny the existence of said investigation.”

According to The Courier Journal, Harris said that an investigator followed up with him over the phone on Dec. 17 and asked whether he had anything to add after what he had said at a press conference five days earlier where he and state Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D) urged state and federal investigators to look into Bevin’s pardons.

“It may be a formal investigation or it may not be a formal investigation,” Harris said, according to The Courier Journal. “It may be just calling to see if there’s anything there to warrant a full investigation. … I can tell you, at least, there are questions being asked.”

Read The Courier Journal’s report here.

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