Wednesday, June 18, 2003

FBI agent sentenced in false swearing case

By Murray Evans
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - Kathleen Lundy, an FBI agent who admitted lying in the case of a man who was convicted in the death of a University of Kentucky football player, pleaded guilty to false swearing in Fayette County District Court on Tuesday.

Lundy did not attend the hearing. Her attorney, Larry Roberts of Lexington, entered Lundy's guilty plea to the charge, which is a Class B misdemeanor. District Judge Pamela Goodwine gave Lundy a 90-day suspended sentence - meaning Lundy will serve no jail time - and fined her $250. Roberts said he would pay Lundy's fine immediately after the court hearing.

The maximum sentence for false swearing is 90 days in jail and a $250 fine. Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Smith, who prosecuted the case, recommended the suspended jail sentence.

"She's already lost her job and paid severely, through the loss of her job and her reputation," Smith said. "In my mind, that was sufficient. I didn't see that the taxpayers of Fayette County needed to keep her up for a while."

Lundy, whom Roberts said lives in Washington, served as an expert witness who used chemical comparisons to link lead bullets to suspects. She testified against Shane Ragland, who was convicted last year of gunning down Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro in 1994.

During a pretrial hearing, Lundy said a company melted its own bullet lead until 1996, when the company actually had stopped in 1986.

She corrected her testimony during the trial and told her supervisors in Washington that she had lied.

In January, Circuit Judge Thomas Clark said Lundy's false testimony would not have altered the course of the case against Ragland.

Federal authorities decided not to prosecute her, but Kentucky prosecutors brought a charge of false swearing.

Roberts said he didn't think Lundy still was employed by the FBI. Smith said it was his understanding Lundy had lost her job. FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell couldn't confirm if Lundy still worked at the federal agency.

Lundy testified in about 80 other cases across the nation. Smith said it would be "rank speculation" to say whether Lundy's guilty plea would bring those other cases into question.

"I don't know because she told the jury the truth during the (Ragland) trial," Smith said. "This was a preliminary issue, where she made her false statement; so I don't know."

Roberts called Lundy's sentence fair, and said he also didn't know the impact her plea might have on the Ragland verdict - which is under appeal - or any other case.

"As to the significance of it, I don't believe there's a whole lot of relevance to what she testified to to make it important in the criminal case," Roberts said.

"But that's something that's going to be handled by the appellate courts."

As for other cases, "I'm sure the lawyers will go back and look at those cases and see if there's anything there."

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