South Carolina

Statements that led to Sheriff James Metts’ indictment sealed

A federal judge has sealed the sworn statements that led to the indictment of Lexington County Sheriff James Metts.

Prosecutors asked to keep the documents from the public because it might jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

The now-suspended sheriff was indicted last week, accused of accepting bribes in return for using his influence to interfere with the identification and processing of illegal immigrants detained at the county jail. Three others were indicted by the State Grand Jury: former Town Councilman Danny Frazier, former South Congaree Police Chief Jason Amodio and restaurateur Greg Leon.

Some of the alleged “preferential treatment” of the immigrants under Metts occurred through contact with unidentified “command staff” and officers, the 10-count indictment says.

Agents did search two offices at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department last week. Court documents released Monday show they took computers, appointment books, written notes, incident reports, an iPhone and a cassette tape in a recorder attached to a telephone in Metts’ office.

Metts’ first court appearance for arraignment on federal charges of accepting bribes and abuse of his office is scheduled for July 1.

No proceedings had been scheduled as of Monday for Frazier, Amodio and Leon, according to the clerk of court’s office for the State Grand Jury.

Frazier is accused of bribing Metts so illegal immigrants could keep working and of bribing Amodio in exchange for seized gaming machines. Leon is accused of bribing Metts so illegal immigrants facing deportation who worked for him could return to their jobs.

Amodio is accused of accepting payments in exchange for illegal gaming machines seized by town police.