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Following trial, Darryl Daniels releases statement about government overreach, Pres. Trump

Following his exoneration, former Sheriff Darryl Daniels said in a statement he had to "endure" abuse from the government like former President Donald Trump.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Darryl Daniels released a statement on Friday after he was found not guilty on all counts after being tried this week for alleged evidence tampering and lying to law enforcement.

In the statement, Daniels thanks the jury and and residents of Florida. He then goes on to say he had to "endure" abuse and overreach from the government before comparing his situation to that of former President Donald Trump. 

I would like to thank the jury for their service and thank all of the people of Florida for their support during this challenging time for me and for my family. The abuse and overreach that I have had to endure over the past three years is an example of what happens when sectors of our government go unchecked. If this abuse of power by government entities can happen to a duly elected sheriff, then it can happen to anyone. I pledge to all Floridians and people from across the country who offered their support during these trying times, that I will continue to fight for them to ensure that we all receive equal justice under the law. 

This abuse cost me my job that I loved and it cost Clay County their sheriff. Similar to what we are seeing happen to former President Donald Trump and now with the Biden Administration working to hire 87,000 new IRS agents to harass and abuse Americans across the country, this type of government overreach has to stop. I look forward to identifying ways to continue to serve the people and working to ensure that the government works for them and not to persecute them."

Daniels' trial stemmed from the claim that he allegedly had the woman he was in a long-time affair with arrested for stalking him in 2019. The jury deliberated for around two hours and twenty minutes before declaring him not guilty on all seven counts. 

The two started having an affair when the then 48-year-old Daniels was the director of the Duval County Jail, and Cierra Smith was his 21-year-old subordinate, employed as a corrections officer.

Daniels did not testify in his own defense. His defense team did not call any witnesses; the state called more than a dozen over three days. 

During the trial, prosecutors played Daniels' Oct. 2019 voluntary two hour interview with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for jurors.

Daniels said in that interview that his relationship with Smith was a "frustrating cycle of volatility" with ups and downs. In the recording, he said they'd end things and then get back together like nothing happened.

The recording was played as part of the lead investigator, Inspector Keith Riddick's, nearly six hours of testimony. Riddick said financial records show Daniels sent Smith about $37,000 through CashApp over the years and purchased things for her.

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