Gillispie headed to trial, maybe

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Date set, sentencing offer remains on table

By Ben Carlson

With what amounts to a sentencing offer still on the table from the county attorney, Billy Gillispie’s attorney inched the former UK basketball coach closer to a trial when he appeared Monday morning in Anderson District Court.

County Attorney Bobbi Jo Lewis and Gillispie’s attorney Bill Patrick agreed on a second pretrial conference date for Nov. 2 at 10:30 a.m., and for a trial to be held Feb. 10-11 in District Court.

Gillispie, who was arrested and charged with DUI in the early morning hours on Aug. 27, did not appear Monday in court. Instead, he remains in an alcohol rehabilitation program in the Houston, Texas, area.

Lewis and Patrick each declined to comment following Monday’s hearing in front of Judge Linda Armstrong.

The DUI charge has made national headlines, including recently when a variety of local and national media outlets reported that Lewis had offered Gillispie a “plea bargain.”

Lewis quickly responded by releasing a statement saying the only thing she offered was a sentencing recommendation. As she did last week, Lewis declined to discuss what that recommendation is.

In preparing her case against Gillispie, Lewis has issued a number of subpoenas, including to businesses where he was allegedly drinking alcohol before his arrest, according to documents in Gillispie’s court file.

A subpoena seeking bar receipts for any purchases Gillispie made Aug. 26 was issued to Champions Trace, a golf course in Nicholasville, along with records of tee times and any video that exists for that date. She also asked for a list of employees and bartenders who worked that night.

Another similar subpoena was issued to Drake’s, a bar and restaurant on Tates Creek Road in Lexington. In it, Lewis asks for bar tabs or any other “documentary evidence created by sale” to Gillispie, along with the names of employees working that night. She also asked for any video recording of the premise from 7 p.m. Aug. 26 through closing time Aug. 27.

Patrick, who has a law office on Main Street, has filed a motion for a bill of particulars, meaning he wants to find out what Lewis plans to use to prosecute Gillispie.

Patrick filed a list of questions, including whether Lewis plans to use video recordings of Gillispie’s field sobriety tests after being stopped on U.S. 127 Bypass by a Lawrenceburg police officer. He also asked if Lewis plants to use video of Gillispie in the police department’s intoxilyzer room.

Lewis responded that all would be used, and have been provided to Gillispie’s attorneys.

His arrest in August marks the third time Gillispie has been charged with DUI, although he has yet to be convicted.

Patrick confirmed last week that Lewis did make an offer when the two met Sept. 23 for an informal pretrial conference.

In a statement, Lewis countered numerous media reports of a plea deal saying that the charge will not be amended down and that it will remain a DUI.

“I cannot speak for how Mr. Gillispie has been treated in the past, but in Anderson County he will be treated just like any other person arrested for DUI,” the statement said.

“Anderson County has one of the highest DUI conviction rates in the state when compared to similar counties, indicating our firm stance on DUI prosecutions, which we will continue now and in the future.”

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.