View Full Version : Miss. Sheriff Pleads Innocent to Bribery

08-07-2003, 09:56 PM
Miss. Sheriff Pleads Innocent to Bribery

OXFORD, Miss. (AP)--A sheriff pleaded innocent Wednesday to federal charges that he got kickbacks from stolen drug proceeds and extorted money from a bail bond company looking to operate in his county.

After hearing the plea on four counts of bribery and extortion, a federal judge allowed Tunica County Sheriff Jerry Ellington, 45, to remain free on $10,000 bond.

Last Thursday, Ellington was arrested on a separate state charge of extortion for allegedly strong-arming another bail bond company.

His plea to the federal charges came one day after Ellington lost in a primary election bid for another term as sheriff.

Phone messages seeking comment from Ellington were not returned Wednesday.

The court set a trial date of Sept. 22. If convicted, Ellington faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Ellington's predecessor, John Pickett III, resigned after pleading guilty to extorting a bail bondsman in the northwestern Mississippi county that is home to a dozen casinos.