Timothy Nolan, the ex-chair of Donald Trump’s campaign in Campbell County, Kentucky, was arraigned on an 11-count indictment on Wednesday. The charges against Nolan include human trafficking of a minor, human trafficking of adults, rape, and witness tampering. Nolan pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that, if convicted, Nolan could face over 100 years in prison.
Nolan, who is also a former district judge and, until earlier this month, a member of Campbell County’s school board, was arrested in late April on human trafficking and unlawful transaction with a minor. According to the criminal complaint, the alleged crimes date to August 2016 while he was serving as the campaign chairman for Donald Trump. The initial charges were expanded in early May when rape and witness tampering were added to the growing list. The Enquirer reported then:
The indictment doesn’t reveal many details about the case, other than alleging Nolan tried to induce a possible witness identified only as “M.R.” to either not testify or change his or her testimony. In addition, the rape charge is new, although no specifics other than the initials of the alleged victim were released. The rape charge nor the new human trafficking charges indicate the age of the alleged victim.
After the additional charges, Nolan resigned his seat on the county’s school board. To date, the charges against him allege nine victims, one of whom is a minor.
Nolan has long been a fixture in local politics. In the 1970s and 80s, he served as a district judge; after his retirement, he became active in local tea party politics. He was elected to the school board in November. According to the Daily Beast, Nolan ran on a platform of eliminating property taxes to fund district schools and giving families “school choice voucher.” He was also part of the group of Kentucky Republicans that tried to oust Mitch McConnell.
During his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, Nolan’s lawyer alleged that the charges against him were politically motivated. His lawyer told the court that the 11-count indictment was, in part, a response to a separate lawsuit Nolan filed against other Republicans in Campbell County. In June 2016, Nolan filed a defamation suit against the county Republicans who run the website GOPFacts.org. The website published a photograph of a man wearing Ku Klux Klan robes, claiming the man was Nolan. The site also described Nolan as “one of Campbell County’s most vehement racists.” Nolan denied that he was the man in the photograph and filed a lawsuit.
“I would call it a conspiracy,” Nolan’s lawyer said. “You read the contents and find out. Go to the website and look at what they done to him.” Nolan declined to comment, only saying, I have a great attorney and we will vigorously defend this.”
Nolan’s next hearing is scheduled for July 7