Metts Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Charges

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A federal judge handed suspended Lexington County Sheriff James Metts a $100,000 bond Tuesday on charges he took bribes to protect illegal immigrants.

Metts' attorney said in court that the suspended sheriff was aware charges could be coming for about a year.

US District Judge Shiva Hodge ruled Metts was not a flight risk, asked him to turn his passport over, and submit any guns he owned to federal authorities.

She also ordered Metts to stay in South Carolina until his trial.

After the hearing, Metts did not comment on the allegations but simply pointed to his attorney when asked questions by News19.

"Sheriff Metts is looking forward to his day in court," said Metts' attorney, Sherri Lydon.

Court documents say Metts received cash payments in exchange for protecting illegal immigrants in the Lexington County Jail from detection by federal authorities.

Investigators says it was part of a ring designed to keep those illegal immigrants working in Lexington County.

Federal authorities have seized a number of items from the Sheriff's Office including computers, cassettes from a recorder attached to a telephone, and a memo titled 'Video Gaming, Sweepstakes and Related Enterprizes'.

Affidavits and attachments in the Metts case have been sealed and kept from public view. Investigators say they could jeopardize an ongoing investigation.

"I mean no disrespect to you but I just don't have any comments to make," Lydon said after the hearing. "We do our talking in the courtroom."


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