Longtime Santa Clara County sheriff steps down amid corruption trial


Embattled Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith abruptly stepped down Monday, earlier than a jury reached a verdict within the civil corruption trial that would have led to her elimination from workplace.

The longtime San Jose-area sheriff has struggled to get well from a number of scandals, together with allegations of corruption and bribery amongst her command employees and abuse within the county jails — resulting in a vote of no confidence from the county’s Board of Supervisors final yr.

Smith, who in 1998 turned the primary girl to be elected a county sheriff in California, has spent the previous couple of weeks preventing a corruption case in civil courtroom, during which prosecutors have outlined a bribery scheme that allegedly traded concealed-carry permits for political donations.

The bizarre trial is a civil continuing that solely seeks to take away Smith from her place. She has not been straight linked within the felony circumstances which have ensnared her former undersheriff and others.

The jury within the corruption trial started deliberating Friday, in line with the Mercury Information, and if Smith had been discovered responsible, she would have been instantly ousted from her place as sheriff. Nonetheless, as of Monday, it wasn’t clear when a verdict can be reached or how Smith’s choice to step down early would have an effect on the case.

Smith had beforehand introduced plans to retire on the finish of her time period in January, selecting to not search reelection, in line with the Mercury Information. Santa Clara County voters will select a brand new sheriff in subsequent week’s election.

Smith introduced her retirement efficient Monday, in line with a press release from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Workplace. Undersheriff Ken Binder will step into the function of performing sheriff “till a brand new prime cop is elected or appointed by the Board of Supervisors,” the assertion stated.

“The Sheriff’s Workplace stays dedicated to our mission to offer the very best degree of public security and repair to our group throughout this transition,” the assertion stated.

Smith’s legal professional, Allen Ruby, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

The California legal professional normal’s workplace this yr introduced a civil rights investigation into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Workplace, which a spokesperson confirmed Monday is ongoing.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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