Former Bardstown mayor pleads not guilty to perjury and official misconduct

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Former Bardstown Mayor John Royalty pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony charge perjury and misdemeanor official misconduct and false swearing charges.

"I am not guilty of any of the charges, and I will await vindication when we have a trial," Royalty said. "I am not guilty any of the charges."

The charges stem from an investigation by the Bardstown City Council that revealed Royalty abused his power and violated privacy laws in an attempt to ruin the reputation of councilwoman Keshia Copeland before last year's election.

The City Council voted unanimously to remove him from office in April.

Royalty's attorney, Jason Floyd, said he will ask that the trial be moved, because he does not believe Royalty can get a fair trial in Bardstown.

"We do anticipate making a motion for a change of venue, and for recusal of officials that are hearing it right now," Floyd said.

Royalty is also tangled in a web of civil lawsuits. Floyd said in one of those cases, Circuit Judge Charles Simms, who was on the bench for Royalty's arraignment, is listed as a witness.

"Judge Simms is a fair judge, and he recused from that other case," Floyd said. "The same types of issues are probably going to arise here."

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Chip McKay said prosecutors will respond to Royalty's change of venue request after it's officially filed.

A trial date was set for April 23. Royalty remains free on $5,000 bond.

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