A new presentment alleging official misconduct was handed down by the Unicoi County grand jury
against Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris on Thursday.
The indictment alleges that Harris used an employee of [the] Unicoi County Sheriffs Department
during his/her working hours, as well as equipment and supplies of the Unicoi County Sheriffs Department to prepare a letter soliciting funds to pay his attorneys fees.
District Attorney General Tony Clark said that the charge isnt about using the departments computer for personal use. Its about using a county employee on county time with county
equipment for personal gain, said Clark. Its quite a bit different than using the computer for Facebook or something like that.
According to the presentment, the charge placed against Harris is a violation of
T.C.A. 39-16-402 (a)(1), which states that A public servant commits an offense who, with intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another, intentionally or knowingly: Commits an act relating to the
servants offi ce or employment that constitutes an unauthorized exercise of official power. Clark said that he doesnt see any new charges being placed on Harris in the future. I think everything is finished, but thats not to say that something else wont be reported, he said. Clark said he felt this
complaint needed to be looked into. I hope the public doesnt think this is all were doing, picking on the sheriff, he said. Were not. Clark said that a new indictment requires Harris to be booked through the county again since he was given a criminal summons. An arraignment hearing is
scheduled for March 27. Clark said that it will more than likely be handled separately. Im sure the defense will ask that this be severed, he said. Its two years later. The other six are linked because they involve the same time period and alleged inmates. This [the new indictment] is distinctly different.
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