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Former Louisville police officer pleads guilty to federal charges in Breonna Taylor case

Kelly Goodlett is charged with falsifying the search warrant used to raid Taylor's apartment and then creating a false cover-up story.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the former Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) officers charged in the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge Tuesday.

Prosecutors said former detective Kelly Goodlett, who resigned weeks ago, conspired with fired LMPD detective Joshua Jaynes to create a falsified search warrant for Taylor's apartment and then worked together to cover it up -- misleading federal investigators.

Earlier this month, the DOJ said Goodlett met Jaynes in his home garage, in May 2020, where they agreed to tell investigators a falsified story.

Goodlett will be back in court on Nov. 22 for sentencing. The judge said she would not be in jail custody during this pre-sentence period because she "doesn't pose a danger to the community." 

She faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison along with a $250,000 fine and three years of supervision after her release.

University of Louisville Constitutional Law Professor Sam Marcosson told WHAS11 it's fair to assume that given the circumstances, Goodlett may not get the maximum sentence as part of her plea deal. In fact, he speculates it'll be far from the max.

Marcosson believes it's now a 'virtual certainty' that Goodlett will take the stand in the trials of her former colleagues, testifying as part of the plea agreement.

Goodlett's sentencing takes place more than a month after Jaynes and the other two former officers charged in the case, fired detectives Kyle Meany and Brett Hankison, are set to face a jury in mid-October.

Since Goodlett acknowledged the cover-up in federal court, Marcosson said her testimony would be necessary in Jaynes' trial based on common practice. He said Jaynes' case could be very interesting, depending on how his attorneys approach Goodlett as a key witness.

"Whether it changes his strategy and opens the door to him pleading guilty is a whole other question," Marcosson said. "But it certainly puts the pressure on them to come up with some sort of way to either rebut what she says or undermine her credibility or both."

Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, was also in the courtroom Tuesday watching each development closely.

Goodlett and her attorney, Brandon Marshall, declined to speak to us afterward.

Over the next 90 days, a probation officer will take Goodlett's offense level and criminal history into consideration to finalize a sentencing guideline range. The judge will make the final call.

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