Suspended Greenville County, South Carolina sheriff Will Lewis has been doing a lot of negotiating these days …
On the one hand, the disgraced lawman is still staring down criminal charges – which are being pursued doggedly by the office of S.C. sixteenth circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett. This news outlet initially heard reports that Lewis was looking to cut a deal on these charges, but in recent weeks he seems intent on fighting them in court.
That’s an interesting move considering what prosecutors reportedly have on Lewis … and the likelihood of further charges coming down the pike.
While those high-stakes negotiations continue, Lewis is also involved in a court-mandated mediation related to the bombshell civil suit filed against him last year by former sheriff’s office employee Savannah Nabors.
Nabors’ allegations against Lewis – which were exclusively reported a year ago by FITSNews.com – are what sparked the investigation that led to his downfall. The 24-year-old sheriff’s office employee (above) 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. Those rape allegations – which were made in a since-deleted blog post – are currently being investigated by the Charlotte-Mecklenberg police department.
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A year later, Lewis’ future remains unresolved …
Ironically, the investigation into Lewis also uncovered dirt on Nabors – who allegedly threatened a Greenville County sheriff’s office deputy with whom she was reportedly having a romantic relationship. Specifically, Nabors threatened to expose an alleged relationship between her and master deputy Chad Ayers if he failed to support her against Lewis.
“You need to be on my side with this,” Nabors allegedly wrote to Ayers in a text message.
Nabors is then alleged to have sent Ayers screen captures of their old text message threads – which reportedly contained incriminating messages and explicit images that documented their tryst.
“I wonder what the Sheriff will say when he sees these?” Nabors allegedly asked Ayers.
No word yet on when the Nabors-Ayers message threads will be dragged into public view – but it seems abundantly clear at this point that both the accuser and the accused in this case have some issues hanging over their heads.
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In her lawsuit against Lewis (above), Nabors attached numerous audio files of conversations between her and the sheriff – conversations which she surreptitiously recorded. In one of these recordings, the suspended sheriff discussed his plans to further an affair with his young subordinate on the taxpayer dime – and cover it up.
That’s ultimately what prompted us to call for his resignation last October.
“It is abundantly clear that Lewis plotted to defraud taxpayers as part of his efforts to advance an affair with Nabors – secure in the knowledge that no one would ever find out about his scheming,” we wrote at the time.
So … what is the status of the mediation between Nabors, Lewis and Greenville County (which is also a defendant in the lawsuit)? According to our sources, all parties were scheduled to meet with their attorneys in Greenville this week. Unfortunately, Nabors had to cancel at the last moment because she and her husband are expecting their first child at any moment.
First of all, congratulations to Nabors and her husband. We wish them all the best as they welcome a new child into the world under what can charitably be described as stressful circumstances. And obviously, the young mother deserves a chance to focus on her newborn for the foreseeable future – even if that means bumping back the scheduled civil court negotiations.
Still, several sources have told us the civil and criminal legal actions are interwoven – with one Upstate politico hinting that progress in the civil case “could help speed up (the) criminal (case).”
Why is the timing so important? Because a special election to replace Lewis will be scheduled the moment his office becomes vacant due to either a resignation or a conviction (which we continue to believe are the two most likely outcomes of this saga).
The sooner that happens, the better for Greenville …
Obviously, Lewis should be considered innocent until proven guilty – or until such time as he may choose to enter a plea in connection with any of the charges filed (or yet to be filed) against him. And we certainly respect his right to invoke every liberty available to him under the law – in addition to utilizing whatever leverage he believes he has in the negotiating process.
Of course whatever happens to Lewis civilly or criminally doesn’t change the fact that the Nabors’ tapes have exposed an arrogance toward (and contempt for) taxpayers that should disqualify him from ever holding office again.
If Lewis had so much as an ounce of shame, he would have stepped down months ago and spared residents of Greenville County any more of this embarrassing soap opera …
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