COLUMBIA, South Carolina — South Carolina's longest-serving sheriff pleaded not guilty to federal bribery charges on Tuesday.
Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, 68, was released on $100,000 bond after a brief hearing in federal court in Columbia. A judge also ordered him to surrender his passport and guns and not to leave South Carolina without court permission.
Metts faces 10 charges, which include allegations of taking bribes and committing wire fraud. Prosecutors say Metts allowed friends to buy favors, accepting cash in return for agreeing to assist people who were in the country illegally and who were being detained.
Gov. Nikki Haley suspended Metts about an hour after the indictments were released and appointed Lewis McCarty, who retired in 1999 after nearly 30 years with the Lexington Department, as the acting sheriff.