Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sheriff Watson Arrested on 12 Felony Charges

Judge Don Ash is picked to preside: the same judge that presided over the Bill Bivens vs Randy White lawsuit in Monroe County


Prosecutor Jimmy Dunn dropped all felony charges against Watson on 1/11/2018, before the case was even heard in court--even though after 6 months of appeals, Judge Don Ash had ruled on 12/21/2017 the case to go to trial (the indictment originally had 6 felony offenses and later had 12 in total)...Dunn admitted that Watson had violated the law, but claimed he had paid the taxes on the vehicle titles mentioned in the indictment--however, that was not part of the case--the indictment charged "fraud and forgery." 

In a press conference the day after prosecutor Dunn dropped all 12 felony charges, Watson blamed others (and rumors?) for the 2 year investigation, and didn't offer to answer questions from reporters--this incident and how he handled it, will forever haunt his career --- he will now go before the 'court of public opinion.'


Update 12/21/2017 Judge Don Ash refused to dismiss charges, case to go to trial--his attorney had filed a motion to dismiss (motion DENIED), the approach was that since the titles in the vehicles that Watson had admitted to 'forging' were not Tennessee titles, the law didn't apply.

The arrest of a county sheriff is a rare event--it's been almost 10 years since former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long was arrested by the FBI and convicted on money laundering, extortion, and other charges. Long was released from federal prison in 2016, but will serve a monitored 'house arrest' for another 5 years.

After a year long investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, a grand jury indicted Watson on 6 felony counts--after getting his prints and mugshot taken, he posted a 30k dollar bond and was released from custody back in July 2017.

Through his attorney Jim Logan, Watson claims he is innocent of the charges and that none of the charges stem from any activity related to the sheriff's dept., or while he was in any official duty as sheriff.