Sex scandal lawsuit against ex-Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels begins Monday

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Former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels answers questions from residents at a town hall meeting in 2020. After his arrest amid a sex scandal, he is now scheduled to face a judge in St. Johns County this week.

The three-time-delayed trial of former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels’ sex scandal begins Monday with jury selection in a St. Johns County courtroom, according to court officials.

Already postponed from Dec. 6 to Feb. 21, Search Assets and then May 16, Circuit Court Judge R. Lee Smith has blocked the trial for two weeks, officials said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Daniels as Clay County sheriff about two years ago. That came a day after he was arrested on charges of destroying evidence and three more counts of knowingly giving false information to law enforcement officers in a sex scandal in which he ordered deputies to arrest his mistress for stalking, court records show. .

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Then, in February, more criminal charges were filed against the ex-sheriff for two more charges of false reporting to the police, and a new one for tampering or destroying evidence, according to Clay County court records.

FDLE investigation leads to sheriff’s arrest

Daniels was arrested on August 13, 2020 on charges of felony and felony after a year-long investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into whether he had used his position to illegally order the arrest of a woman with whom he had been having an affair. .

The scandal surfaced when the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, where Daniels had worked as a prison warden, announced an internal investigation into a corrections officer with whom Daniels had sex. Daniels told his wife about the affair and had his deputies arrest the woman in May 2019 on charges of stalking.

The investigation revealed that Daniels called 911 that night and said he needed backup because he was being followed and feared for his life. The person who followed him was Cierra Smith, his six-year-old mistress and the prosecutor he had previously counseled.

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Former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels and Cierra Smith in an undated photo.

Former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels and Cierra Smith in an undated photo.

Deputies told prosecutors they did not feel there was a good reason to arrest the woman. Smith resigned from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office while under investigation for misconduct.

The 4th Circuit State Attorney’s Office asked the FDLE to investigate Daniels after it pulled out due to conflict of interest. That investigation revealed that Daniels lied and also destroyed evidence to prevent his affair with Smith from coming to light.

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Daniels had dismissed the 2020 arrest in a video taken by Sheriff’s Office employees, saying any issues were personal and did not affect his job as sheriff, even though it included a warrant he gave to the staff.

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DeSantis removed Daniels from office the day after the sheriff’s arrest. The governor appointed Michelle Cook as interim sheriff. Cook then defeated Daniels and four others to become the county’s first female sheriff, and she officially ended his term before taking the job full-time.

The new count of sabotage states that a Google account was altered, destroyed or hidden in 2019, knowing that a criminal case was pending. Details on the new allegations of false reports were not available.

Request from the state attorney: Assign Sheriff Daniel’s investigation to another circuit

Case closed for local judiciary: Clay County judges pulled out of former sheriff’s criminal case

The case was moved to St. Johns County after an October 10, 2020 letter to the state from the judges of Clay County’s Circuit Court stating that there are grounds for denying all remaining judges to handle Daniels’ trial.

Assistant state attorney Richard Buxman will prosecute while attorney Matthew Kachergus handles Daniels’ defense.

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This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Sex Scandal Trial of Ex-Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels Set