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Will Lewis To Be Released From Prison On Appeal Bond

Convicted sheriff has been in jail less than three weeks …

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Former Greenville county, South Carolina sheriff Will Lewis is scheduled to be released from a North Carolina prison this week after a Palmetto State judge granted him an appeal bond. As soon as his paperwork is processed, he will be transferred back to the Palmetto State and released per the conditions of his bond.

As of this writing, Lewis has served only eighteen days of his one-year prison sentence for misconduct in office.

It pays to have powerful allies, doesn’t it?

In corrupt-as-hell South Carolina … clearly.

Thanks to the appeal bond, Lewis will remain free until his appeals of his conviction are exhausted – a process which could take years.

S.C. sixteenth circuit solicitor Kevin Brackett – who successfully prosecuted Lewis on the misconduct charge – confirmed that S.C. circuit court judge G. Thomas Cooper Jr. had granted Lewis a $50,000 appeal bond.

Brackett didn’t sound as though he was entirely pleased with Cooper’s ruling, however he declined to challenge the judge’s basis for issuing the controversial bond – and in fact pointed out that Cooper was within his statutory rights to grant it.

“In a case like this I don’t have a violent criminal history to point to as a reason for why a bond shouldn’t be granted,” Brackett told us. “The law allows for an appeal bond to be set.”

Lewis is the second high-profile South Carolina official in recent months to receive an appeal bond after being convicted on a corruption charge. Last November, former S.C. House judiciary chairman and state code commissioner Jim Harrison avoided an 18-month prison sentence – for the time being – after S.C. circuit court judge Carmen Mullen granted him a $250,000 appeal bond.

Harrison remains free while his appeals are pending.

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Lewis (above) was convicted on one count of misconduct in office last month related to allegations that he abused his office and wasted taxpayer money in pursuit of an affair with a subordinate, 25-year-old sheriff’s assistant Savannah Nabors.

Upon his conviction, he was statutorily removed from office – which set up a special election for sheriff next March (partisan primaries in that race will be held in January). Former sheriff Johnny Mack Brown – who was appointed as interim sheriff upon Lewis’ indictment last spring – will remain in his role until that time.

The Lewis scandal began in August 2017 when Nabors accused the 43-year-old law man of drugging and raping her on a business trip to Charlotte, North Carolina in March of that year. She originally made the rape allegation in a since-deleted blog post that was originally covered by this news outlet.

“This man, who is twice my age, (who) I looked to for protection … used his power, his authority in his position, and the trust that he had built to coerce me into allowing him into my hotel room on a business trip out of town,” Nabors wrote in the post. “He forced himself on me. He took advantage of me. He brainwashed me from the moment I met him. It was all a set up. It was all for this moment where he took every last piece of me.  And I had nowhere to run.”

(Click to view)

(Via: Greenville County Court)

Nabors expanded on these allegations in a bombshell civil lawsuit filed against Lewis in October of 2017.  In that pleading, she graphically detailed the rape allegation – claiming she was drifting in and out of consciousness in a Charlotte hotel room as Lewis had sex with her.

“(She) remembers regaining consciousness when the Sheriff was on top of her, having sex with her,” the lawsuit claimed. “It took (her) a second to realize what was happening and she had no idea how long it had gone on. The Sheriff asked (her) if she was ready for him to ‘finish,’ and (she) said yes. The Sheriff then giggled, making a joke about how long he could ‘last,’ and added that he was sure (Nabors) was not used to that. (Nabors) then lost consciousness again.”

Lewis admitted to having an affair with Nabors but denied drugging or raping her. A settlement in the civil case was reached last October.

While Brackett made the rape allegations a centerpiece of the trial – over the objection of Lewis’ attorney, Rauch Wise – he made it clear to jurors that he was not charging Lewis with rape.

“I did not indict Will Lewis for sexual assault,” Brackett said during his closing argument. “Mr. Lewis is seated over here at this table … because Mr. Lewis is a corrupt, self-serving, selfish, manipulative man.”

This news outlet was the first in the state to call for Lewis’ resignation back in October of 2017 after recordings released in connection with Nabors’ civil suit indicated his attempts to further an extramarital affair with her on the taxpayer dime.

One such recording captured Lewis plotting a romantic getaway for the two of them (using taxpayer funds) to a law enforcement conference in Reno, Nevada.  In another recording, Lewis is heard attempting to coax Nabors into traveling with him to the Reno event.

“I don’t see how that’s gonna work,” Nabors demurred.  “That’s too risky if somebody were to find out.”

“Ain’t nobody gonna find out – because nobody is going to be out there from South Carolina,” Lewis responded.  “Nobody is going to find out. That’s the whole point.”

(Click to view)

(Via: Greenville County Court)

Lewis was facing numerous charges, but Brackett brought the misconduct allegation to trial – believing it afforded the best opportunity to win a conviction (which it did).

Lewis repeatedly received preferential treatment from Cooper during the trial – and after his conviction. For instance, Lewis’ wife – Amy Lewis – was allowed to sit next to her husband at the defense table throughout the weeklong trial. The two were openly affectionate, holding hands in front of jurors and patting or rubbing one another on the head and shoulders – until Brackett objected to the display as prejudicial, that is.

Cooper ruled that Amy Lewis was allowed to sit at the table, but told her to keep her hands to herself. She routinely failed to comply with his instructions, however.

Cooper also allowed Lewis to leave the courtroom after his conviction but before his sentencing – over Brackett’s objections.

So maybe we should have seen this coming …

After his sentencing, Lewis was taken into the custody of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and transferred to Kirkland correctional institution in Columbia, S.C., an intake facility with the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC). From there, he was transferred to a facility in North Carolina after SCDC deemed he was at risk of potential retaliation in the South Carolina prison system.

No word yet on when Lewis’ paperwork will be processed but our guess is he will be a free man at some point within the next forty-eight hours.

-FITSNews

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(Via: Greenville County Court)


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