SLED report on convicted sheriff to stay secret

Jason Booth
Jason Booth pleads guilty in court on Monday. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 6, 2012)
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Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012

SALUDA, S.C. (AP) -- Details about what led prosecutors to accept a plea deal from a former Saluda County sheriff will be kept secret from the taxpayers who paid his salary for a decade.

Jason Booth pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid only a $900 fine for using inmate labor to build a party shed on his land.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's office refuses to release the report from the State Law Enforcement Division agent that investigated Booth. The agency says it must be kept secret because the case went before the State Grand Jury.

First Amendment attorney Jay Bender says SLED reports are almost always made public after an investigation ends and this one should be no different. He says the report was a public document the moment it was created.

(Copyright 2012, The Associated Press)

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