The man who was once South Carolina’s longest-serving sheriff will spending most of his next year in prison.
Former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts was sentenced in federal court Monday to 12 months and one day in prison and fined $10,000. He will also get two years of supervised release.
Metts pleaded guilty last December to a single charge. The 68-year-old was initially indicted on 10 charges, as investigators claimed he had taken bribes from a restaurant owner in exchange for releasing four of the restaurant’s employees who had been detained at the Lexington County Detention Center for being in the country illegally. But prosecutors dropped bribery and other charges in exchange for the ex-sheriff’s guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to harbor and conceal illegal aliens.
He resigned from office shortly before that plea. He had been suspended by Governor Nikki Haley ever since his indictment in June.
Metts made an emotional plea for leniency shortly before the ruling by U.S. District Judge Terry Wooten, saying he had made an “awful mistake.” “My life ended June the 17th of 2014,” the former sheriff said, noting the day he was indicted and suspended from office. “That day I lost my life. Helping the people of Lexington County was my life for the better part of 42 years.”
AUDIO: Metts comments on judge sentencing him to prison [Read more…]