Fight for Putnam County Sheriff begins in court

Putnam County Sheriff confusion continues

PALATKA, Fla. - Months after election day, the fight over who will represent Putnam County as sheriff continues.

At issue inside the Putnam County Courthouse: 42 potentially illegal votes. Votes said to have been from felons, out of state and county residents, and even dead people.

During closing arguments, the attorney for Jon Kinney argued that they met the burden of proof, which they see as enough to place doubt in the outcome of the sheriff's election.

They want to see one of two things done: Either make Jon Kinney sheriff or remove Gator DeLoach - the currently elected sheriff - from office.

Meanwhile, the defense argues those 42 people said to have voted illegally did not receive due process they said Kinney's team should have brought up any illegal voting issues before the election. They also bring up how ballots are secret so we don't even know who those 42 voted for. They would rather see a special election.

"It's been hard; it hasn't been a piece of cake and again, my heart goes out to [Supervisor of Elections] Mr. Overturf and Sheriff DeLoach because they're going through the same stress as I am, and so it's been difficult," said Kinney.

"I do feel confident, certainly it's in the judges' hands and I trust that he'll make the right decision," said DeLoach. "This has certainly been difficult for all of us and certainly a distraction, but I'm focused on being the sheriff and getting back to doing my job."

Likely the surprise of the day: The attorney for DeLoach mentioned in court that Kinney's attorney, Daniel Nordby, is set to be the governor's general council.

The governor would decide who takes the vacancy for sheriff, so DeLoach's attorney insinuated Nordby may hold some sway with their request for a vacancy.

Post-trial is set for a week from Friday. The judge said he'll make his decision shortly after.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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