Asked to witness stand, Conn takes fifth

At the advice of his lawyers, Eric C. Conn declined when asked to the witness stand during a hearing in Floyd Circuit Court Wednesday.

PRESTONSBURG – The hearing to see if Stanville attorney Eric C. Conn’s assets will remain frozen took place Wednesday in Floyd Circuit Court before Judge Johnny Ray Harris, though Harris issued no order but was scheduled to make one as of press time Thursday.

During the hearing, a continuation of proceedings that began last Friday, Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf asked Conn to take the witness stand, but to avail.

“Conn exercised his Fifth Amendment right and declined to testify,” Pillersdorf said shortly after the hearing.

Despite no movement on the decision as to whether or not his assets will remain frozen, Conn was served Wednesday while at the courthouse with two wrong death lawsuits Pillersdorf has filed on behalf of the family of two of Conn’s former disability clients – Larry Burchett and Melissa Jude. Both Burchett and Jude took their own lives shortly after learning their benefits had been suspended.

Burchett committed suicide last month and his family then saw Rep. Hal Rogers appeal to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to return benefits temporarily to the 1,500 affected individuals. Jude, after unsuccessfully working to obtain her medical records under a 10-day deadline imposed by the SSA as part of their investigation into Conn’s practice, pulled over beside the road and shot herself, Pillersdorf said.

There are some, according to Pillersdorf, who question whether or not the SSA would have any new interest in Conn all together were it not for his legal actions against the social security and disability attorney.

Pillersdorf said that after receiving questions Wednesday as to whether or not he had “somehow caused the resurrection of the federal criminal investigation of Conn” was “laughable.”

“The Eric Conn spin machine is attacking me,” Pillersdorf said. “My response is that the notion that I magically possess the power to cause the U.S Department of Justice to prosecute anyone is laughable. Indeed, my recent dealings with them, during their representation of the SSA, has been combative. Don’t think they like me. I don’t care. My concern is for my clients.”

There had been no returned ruling concerning Conn’s assets as of press time Thursday.

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