Federal Guilty Pleas in Large Kentucky Cockfighting Ring

Two eastern Kentucky men — distant relatives of House Speaker Greg Stumbo – have pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving an Eastern Kentucky cockfighting ring, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Walter Dale Stumbo, 52, and Joshua Stumbo, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to  ”conspiracy to sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venture and conduct an illegal gambling business,” the newspaper reported. 

From the Herald-Leader:

Each faces up to 55 years in federal prison, according to U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy of Virginia.

The government wants to collect $905,000 from the people charged in the case, representing the alleged proceeds of illegal activity. The forfeiture will be resolved as part of the sentencing, said Lexington attorney Mark Wohlander, who represents Walter Dale Stumbo. 

Jonathan Robinson, 33, a Wise County, Va., resident who fought birds at the Big Blue pit, pleaded guilty Thursday to several charges, including conspiracy, transporting gaffs and possessing an animal for use in an illegal fighting venture. He agreed to pay a judgment of $10,000. He is to be sentenced in October and faces up to 35 years in prison.

Robinson’s father, Wesley Dean Robinson, 57, who allegedly sold gaffs at the Big Blue club, pleaded guilty in the case last month and agreed to a judgment of $50,000, according to court records. He faces up to 15 years in prison; he is to be sentenced in August. 

The cockfighting operated out of the Big Blue Sportsman club in McDowell

WFPL and Kentucky Public Radio reported in May that the Stumbos are “distant cousins” of Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, is 63. He was first elected to the House in 1980. 

He told Kentucky Public Radio he has not attended a cockfight in about 35 years.

In a phone interview Monday, Stumbo said he felt sorry for his cousin, Walter Dale Stumbo.

“I feel bad for Dale,” Stumbo said. “He obviously engaged in conduct which has been deemed illegal. And each time you do that, you’re subject to get caught. And he now has to pay the price for his actions.”

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