South Carolina sixteenth circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett is headed to Greenville, S.C. this afternoon as his office continues to handle the prosecution of suspended Greenville County sheriff Will Lewis.
When we last checked in on this drama – which has seen all of its major developments broken exclusively by this news site – Lewis was reportedly of a mind to cut a deal with prosecutors.
Specifically, we were told the 43-year-old law man was “looking to negotiate a guilty plea (along with his resignation from office) in the hopes of avoiding time behind bars” and that he was also “cooperating with investigators as they pursue possible indictments against other members of his command staff.”
Those negotiations may be coming off the rails now, however …
The latest reports we are receiving out of the Upstate indicate that Lewis is unsatisfied with the status of these negotiations – and could be moving toward cutting them off in anticipation of a possible jury trial.
Several sources who have spoken directly with the suspended sheriff – who was indicted in April on misconduct in office and obstruction of justice charges – tell us he has taken to questioning the validity of warrants served on him by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
“He thinks he can get the warrants tossed,” one source close to Lewis told us. “And without the evidence from those (warrants), they got nothing.”
Based on what we have heard of the SLED probe, that would be an extremely optimistic assessment of the investigation …
Lewis smelled of burnt toast to us long before SLED agents descended on the Greenville County law enforcement center in April with search warrants in hand. Even if he succeeded in tossing any evidence obtained from the SLED raid on his office (and his home), we aren’t sure it would improve his negotiating position.
But we don’t think he will be successful in that effort …[timed-content-server show=’2018-Jan-17 00:00:00′ hide=’2018-Oct-22 00:00:00′]
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The misconduct and obstruction charges against Lewis were filed in connection with SLED’s probe of sexual assault allegations against the married sheriff. Both of those stories broke exclusively on this news site (here and here), incidentally.
Twenty-four-year-old Savannah Nabors, a former sheriff’s office employee, accused Lewis of stalking and harassing her during her brief tenure with the department. Nabors also accused Lewis of drugging and raping her during a March 2017 business trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. The rape allegations are currently the subject of a parallel inquiry being conducted by the Charlotte-Mecklenberg police department.
There is also a civil suit …
Nabors recorded several of her phone conversations with Lewis last year, and the audio files from those conversations were included in a seismic lawsuit filed against him last fall (another story that broke exclusively on this site).
In one of these recordings, the suspended sheriff discussed his plans to further an affair with Nabors on the taxpayer dime – and cover it up. That’s ultimately what prompted us to call for his resignation last October.
We continue to believe he should step down for the good of the community … but it is abundantly clear he has no intention of doing that.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry declined to discuss the case when we reached out to him over the weekend. Same with Brackett.
We get it … they don’t want to jeopardize the investigation (especially if Lewis is in fact backpedaling on his willingness to negotiate/ cooperate).
Stay tuned … if we receive any new information on the status of the Lewis’ case, we will be sure to pass it along to our readers.
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