More heated charges in Clayton County Sheriff's race

8:11 PM, Jan 17, 2012   |    comments
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Victor Hill claims emails prove he's the subject of a political witch hunt.

JONESBORO, Ga - Former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill claims a series of emails are evidence of a conspiracy against his bid for re-election, but current Sheriff Kem Kimborough says it's all fantasy.

"It's not just malicious, it's insane," said Hill, who is running to unseat Kimborough.

"Shock and disbelief," said Kimborough when asked to react to the latest of Hill's allegations that the Sheriff has orchestrated a witch hunt against his political opponent. "It's frivolous and false."

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On the day before a grand jury will consider criminal charges against him, Hill summoned reporters to his lawyers office where he released what he said was an email conversation between two former Clayton County deputies. In the email chain, one of the deputies claimed that while still employed by the county, Kimborough ordered him to conduct surveillance on Hill.

"I told him it was crazy for him to try to stretch on Victor," said the deputy in his email.

11Alive has tried to contact the author of the email without success. Since it was Hill and not the former deputy who made the emails public, 11Alive has chosen not to identify him.

In another email, the former deputy claimed he was demoted when he refused to cooperate, then later fired on "trump up" (sic) charges.

He also claimed that Kimborough told employees "they didn't even have to come to work if they got something on Victor."

On Wednesday, a Clayton County grand jury will hear allegations of corruption on the part of Hill. Hill's attorney told 11Alive a proposed indictment indicated the investigation includes allegations of unauthorized credit card use, misuse of campaign funds, and using county employees to work on his re-election campaign during county work hours.

Hill denies that he's done anything improper.

"I think this is proof that this is not only politically motivated, but it's malicious," said Hill. "The purpose of the investigation is to find anything, see if we can defame his character, see if we can stage an arrest."

Sheriff Kimborough counters that the emails Hill sees as proof are actually lies written by a former employee with "many issues."

"It's an act of retaliation," said Sheriff Kimborough. "He feels he has to do this to get back at me. It's not going to work."

Responding to an open records request, Sheriff Kimborough released the former deputy's personnel file which shows he was fired in part for lying about his response to a fight at a Clayton County school.

Hill admits he has not talked to the former deputy, but encouraged reporters to contact him.

Kimborough admitted his office has been part of the investigation into Hill that has involved surveillance on the former Sheriff, but Kimborough insists he hasn't ordered any of it.

"If you look at the timing, I've been out of office three years," said Hill. "On the eve of a political election, suddenly we're looking into corruption."

Kimborough countered that the probe started years ago, before he took office, and long before Hill announced that he would attempt to regain the office of Sheriff. He added that the investigation involves Hill's behavior while he was Sheriff, as well as his activities since leaving office.

The grand jury will convene at 9:00 Wednesday morning.

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