ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal announced Thursday that state law does not allow him to appoint a panel to consider the suspension of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill.
Hill was indicted in February 2012 on 37 felony charges, including theft, racketeering and making false statements. Five of those have since been dropped. The charges largely focus on campaign spending when Hill served as sheriff the first time.
Hill defeated incumbent Kem Kimbrough in the July primary election, and was officially declared the race winner after November’s general election. Hill was defeated by Kimbrough in 2008.
Deal concluded that the law only applies to officials indicted while holding their elected office, according to a statement.
“Victor Hill was indicted on Feb. 29, 2012, at which time he was a private citizen and not an elected county officer. Therefore, state law prohibits the appointment of a suspension panel at this time,” the statement said.
Hill took office on Tuesday and is now the supervisor of some of the investigators who formed the case against him.
One of Hill's attorneys, Steve Frey, told Channel 2’s Mark Winne that Hill would not retaliate against any of the investigators who worked on his case.
He said Hill is innocent of the racketeering charges and other allegations against him, and Frey expects a jury to agree.