Rick Pitino, John Pelphrey sought mercy for Richie Farmer

Richie Farmer

basketball coach asked a federal judge to show mercy when sentencing former Agriculture Commissioner and allow him to “become a productive citizen again” after the basketball star’s political and personal fall from grace.

Pitino’s letter is among 29 pieces of correspondence sent to U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove in the weeks leading up to Farmer’s sentencing in January for abusing public office. The judge sentenced Farmer to 27 months in federal prison. He is serving the sentence at a prison in Bruceton Mills, W.Va.

Van Tatenhove unsealed the letters Thursday evening.

Many of the letters were from family and long-time friends, including former basketball star and current University of assistant basketball coach John Pelphrey. Pitino coached both men at from 1989 through 1992. Pitino and Pelphrey were the only people connected to Farmer’s college basketball career to write to the judge.

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