|Sheriff Terry Buchanan|
This scandal has been building since last April when WBTV filed a public records request for text messages and emails that passed between Buchanan and the commissioners leading up to his appointment. WBTV submitted a second request in July for additional communications between Buchanan and county commissioner Jeff Rose. Rose promptly lawyered up and refused to release his text messages. The lawyer Rose hired, Ben Hurley, just happens to be a business partner of county attorney, John Kilby.
Meanwhile, the attorney that Sheriff Buchanan hired was being paid out of county money without commissioner approval. Who is that attorney? Why, none other that Stacy C. Eggers IV, the redoubtable "Four" Eggers.
WBTV complained in July that "to date [July 7], the county has withheld text messages sent and received from the personal cell phones of Rose and Buchanan; certain text messages redacted by county commissioners without explanation; and certain emails and email attachments that were withheld with little or no explanation."
The cover-up had begun to get felonious as early as June. Sheriff Buchanan instructed his deputies to "investigate" (intimidate) three county employees who were attempting to fulfill the WBTV records request, principally Ann Clark, who serves as the public records custodian and clerk to the board of commissioners, and two employees of the county's IT department. Assisting the sheriff in this assault on county employees was chief deputy Rick Clayton.
The grand jury, not surprisingly, found the intimidation a clear case of obstruction of justice. (You may read the indictments here.)