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Day two of testimony in judge trial recounts 'moaning' and empty alcohol bottles

Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 08:35:28-04

The second day of testimony in the misconduct case against Kenton County judge Dawn Gentry zeroed in on very specific events, with witnesses testifying they heard moaning coming from an office in the courthouse and custodial staff presenting empty alcohol bottles found in Gentry's office.

Witnesses all agreed that, one afternoon in April, they heard strange noises coming from an office in the courthouse; they believed the noises came from Gentry and her staff, and can only be assumed to be one thing.

"It sounded like, to me, a sexual moaning," said one witness.

"I heard some heavy breathing and some moaning," said another.

None of the witnesses saw what was happening inside the office with their own eyes, but several witnesses said the sounds they heard could not be mistaken.

"I assumed what was going on in there and I probably didn't want to see it," said a witness.

Testimony in Tuesday's proceedings came from several women who worked on the same office floor as Gentry. All of them believed the noises came from Gentry, her secretary and the man she hired as her case specialist; Gentry is accused of hiring him, not based on merit, but so she could have an affair with him.

Gentry's attorney insisted the noises were likely a joke. Gentry and her staff shared a floor with judge Chris Mehling and his staff, and the two different offices allegedly did not get along well. Her attorney argued that Gentry or members of her staff were trying to make Mehling's side of the floor uncomfortable by faking noises.

"There's not a lot of happiness or getting along between these two staffs?" said Jeff Lawson, Gentry's attorney.

"There was not a lot of camaraderie," said the witness.

Testimony also included accusations that Gentry allowed her children in the chambers and that she falsified time sheets. Her attorney worked to point out that everyone did that, and it was normal. Still, witnesses insisted the work environment created by Gentry was uncomfortable.

"It was part of the reason I finally left," said a witness. "I loved my job there."

Custodial staff testified as well, showing empty bottles of alcohol they found in Gentry and her case specialist's trash cans.

More witness testimony will continue into Wednesday.