An elected state’s attorney in Kentucky who admitted to getting a criminal defendant pregnant is now running to become a circuit judge.
Matthew Leveridge, commonwealth’s attorney of Russell and Wayne counties, was never disciplined for having sex with with Latisha Sartain in 2014. After Sartain told Leveridge’s wife about the affair, Leveridge moved to rescind Sartain’s pretrial diversion agreement.
Eight years on, he wants to be elected to higher office.
Ken Upchurch, a Republican for the 52nd District in Kentucky’s House of Representatives, told the Louisville Courier Journal he was shocked to hear Leveridge was running to be a judge. “It’s like the church head deacon having an affair with the choir director, then wanting to be the preacher,” Upchurch said.
Although concerns were raised that Leveridge’s actions may have constituted a breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, he has never been sanctioned by the Kentucky Supreme Court or charged with a criminal offense. Leveridge was the subject of a criminal investigation for allegedly having sex with jurors, however, court documents show.
“A few years ago I made a mistake in my life,” Leveridge told the Courier Journal. “I acknowledged the mistake, sought forgiveness, took responsibility and accepted the consequences. I learned from the mistake and have since moved on to a better life, both personally and professionally.”
Latisha Sartain (now Lashley) was prosecuted by Leveridge’s office in 2011 for trafficking in a controlled substance. She was placed on a pretrial diversion for five years and, in 2014, the affair began. It ended a couple of months later when Sartain became pregnant and she told his wife. Leveridge then moved to void her pretrial diversion, though it was later reinstated by a special prosecutor who took over for Leveridge in the case.
“If you’re a prosecutor, you’re not even supposed to talk to a defendant without her attorney being present, much less—well, this,” attorney Larry Rogers, who represented Sartain, told the Lexington Herald-Leader at the time. “Universally, I think everyone would agree this is a big, big, big no-no.”
An attorney general’s public corruption/special investigations unit looked into whether Leveridge had committed official misconduct, but no indictment was filed as a result. Leveridge told investigators he met Sartain through a probation officer with whom he was also having sex.
He also admitted to having an affair with a juror in 2013 after she was dismissed as an alternate on a murder trial. He claimed to have believed her jury duty was over, though she said she was called to serve on another panel before being dismissed when the case was settled.
The juror told the investigation that Leveridge “was just using her for sex,” and that she didn’t understand why “someone with a wife, a child and such an important job would take such risks.” She added that he “frequently made the statement during her time with him that ‘I don’t have no boss,’” the Courier Journal reports.