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Resign or be arrested: Clay County Sheriff given choice following sex scandal investigation, sources say

Multiple sources both in law enforcement and within CCSO say Daniels has been offered a choice by Special Prosecutor Brad King: resign or be arrested.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — UPDATE: Clay County Sheriff arrested, charged with 3 felonies after sex scandal investigation

The long-running investigation into Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels has concluded with an ultimatum, First Coast News has learned.

According to multiple sources both in law enforcement and within the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Daniels has been offered a choice by Special Prosecutor Brad King: resign immediately or be arrested.

According to two sources inside the CCSO, Daniels called a few employees together Thursday to tell them he would not leave voluntarily. Multiple law enforcement sources confirm that charges could be filed as soon as this afternoon.

First Coast News reached out to King, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and CCSO, but none have provided comment yet.

The FDLE opened an investigation at the request of State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office after Daniels had his mistress, Cierra Smith, arrested in May 2019 on allegations of stalking. Daniels has admitted to having an affair with Smith, his subordinate, for several years, a relationship that began when Daniels was the director of the Duval County Jail and Smith was a correctional officer.

Smith was stripped of her duties by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office during an internal investigation that included allegations she had sex with Daniels at work. That allegation was not substantiated, but other misconduct claims were. Smith resigned and no longer works for JSO.

Credit: CCSO
Mugshot of Sheriff Darryl Daniels, who was arrested and charged Thursday following a long-running sex scandal investigation.

Last month, Nelson asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to reassign the investigation to a different prosecutor because one of her employees could be called as a witness, which posed a conflict.

"I find the timing of the obtaining of a warrant and pressing of charges suspicious in light of an election that's pending five days from now," Daniels' attorney Matt Kachergus said in a statement Thursday. "It would appear that the timing of this is designed to influence the outcome of that election." 

The primary election for Clay County Sheriff is Aug. 18. Early voting runs through Aug. 15. 

This is a developing story.

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