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Exonerated of criminal charges, former Clay County sheriff will seek position again

Last September, Darryl Daniels was acquitted on the criminal charges which led to his 2020 removal. Now he is seeking to take his position as sheriff again.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Darryl Daniels, the former Clay County sheriff at the center of a three-day criminal trial in September 2022, is seeking to regain his position as the county's top cop. He filed Thursday to officially join the ballot for next year's election. 

Daniels was removed from his position by Gov. Ron DeSantis in Aug. 2020, after his arrest and a public scandal over an affair. He was charged with destroying evidence and giving false statements to police. Prosecutors said that Daniels ordered deputies to wrongfully arrest his mistress for stalking and destroyed evidence related to the crime. At his trial, a jury ruled that he was not guilty of these crimes. 

Clay County's current sheriff, Michelle Cook, was appointed by DeSantis as interim sheriff. She went on to win the special election, becoming the county's first female sheriff. 

Now that Daniels is a free man, he will enter the race and face off with Cook, who filed for re-election in May.

After his trial, Daniels released a politically-loaded statement comparing his situation to criminal accusations against former president Donald Trump:

"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."

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