Pro-Trump Activist Pleads Guilty to Human Trafficking

Screengrab/LOCAL 12/YouTube

Tim Nolan was a member of the Tea Party and was known as a ‘tough-on-crime’ judge while serving as the judge of others.

A former Kentucky attorney, conservative activist, and Trump-supporter who pleaded guilty to human trafficking charges last month will be sentenced on Thursday.

Tim Nolan, 71, will serve 20 years in prison.

As a judge, Nolan was known for being strict – something he was proud of. It earned him a reputation as a "hanging judge," an Enquirer profile from 1981 notes.

"The word from offenders is, 'If I get in trouble, I don't want to come before Nolan,' " he said of himself.

Three decades later, he thanked a judge for her tolerance after he pleaded guilty to 21 counts involving human trafficking, trading heroin for sex with women – some of them tenants, some of them underage.

Nolan admitted to abusing 19 women over a 10 year period.

After a brain tumor diagnosis in 1999, Nolan retired and took up political activism, working to help elect Republicans, Tea Partiers, and eventually Donald Trump.

Nolan also served a brief stint on the Campbell County School Board, but within a month of taking the position, the first victim had come forward.

One day in December 2016, a 16-year-old student at Campbell County High School approached a school counselor.

She had some shocking accusations against her landlord, who happened to have been elected to the school board the previous month, according to court testimony from the lead detective, Campbell County Police Detective Donald Dornheggen.

That landlord, Tim Nolan, had sexual contact with her the previous summer, the student told the counselor.

The ensuing investigation of Nolan's properties -- which included a dive bar called the Rabbit Hole -- led to bountiful evidence that the former judge had been taking advantage of vulnerable women.

Other victims, all identified in court documents by initials, accused Nolan of paying them or threatening them to have sex with him. Sometimes he paid them to have sex with other women, the warrant said.

Police amassed videos and photos of the defendant having sex with young women, some who appear to be under 18, court documents filed by the prosecutor alleged.

Earlier this year, it appeared that Nolan would point to changes in behavior due to the brain tumor as a defense for his actions, but he subsequently entered a guilty plea.

Asked what changed his mind, Nolan's attorney Margo Grubbs said he owned up to the wrongdoing:

Grubbs said Nolan took responsibility for his actions. She made a cryptic reference to generational differences in how sex is viewed.

"He took full personal responsibility for these acts that in his potential day and generation would not necessarily be considered to rise to the level of human trafficking," Grubbs said.