Bid-rigging defendants want trials moved to Covington

FRANKFORT, KY. (AP) - Defense lawyers are asking that federal bid-rigging trials be moved because of concerns that widespread publicity may have tainted potential jurors in central and eastern Kentucky.

Larry Mackey and other defense lawyers asked in a joint motion filed Wednesday that the trials for former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert and highway construction contractor Leonard Lawson and Lawson aide Brian Billings be held in Covington.

The three are accused of conspiring to steer $130 million in highway construction projects to Lawson's companies. They have entered not guilty pleas.

Two trials are scheduled. The first, for Nighbert and Lawson, is set to begin on Jan. 11. The second, for Billings, is to begin immediately afterward.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)