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Court upholds former SC sheriff’s misconduct conviction

August 11, 2021 GMT

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld Wednesday the misconduct conviction of the former Greenville County sheriff who used his power and office to pressure a personal assistant to have sex with him.

An attorney for former Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis had argued the misconduct charge that a jury found Lewis guilty of in 2019 was too vague, The Greenville News reported.

Prosecutors said that the sheriff hired the then 22-year-old assistant at $62,000 a year, giving her a county vehicle and other perks to groom her into a sexual relationship. The prosecution argued that Lewis misused county money to hire a woefully unqualified person for an unnecessary position and then used county resources such as his cellphone to continue the relationship.

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The high court on Wednesday sided with prosecutors, as the “irrefutable facts” presented at trial left “no doubt whatsoever Lewis is guilty of the crime misconduct in office,” wrote Justice John Cannon Few.

An attorney for Lewis did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the newspaper.

The allegations against Lewis first came to light in a blog post penned by the assistant, Savanah Nabors, who detailed what she called an unwanted sexual encounter with Lewis in 2017 in a Charlotte, North Carolina, hotel.

Lewis was later sentenced to a year in prison by a judge but was released on bond during the appeal.

He is among at least 13 sheriffs in the state’s 46 counties who have been convicted of crimes since 2010. Those crimes have ranged from using inmates for personal labor to running a drug operation to protecting people in the county illegally from being deported to creating false police reports of stolen credit cards.