CLEVELAND DAILY BANNER | Brian Graves | July 21st, 2017
“Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson was charged Friday morning with six counts that he did “unlawfully, knowingly, and feloniously hold or use a certificate of title or certificate of registration, knowing the document to have been altered, forged or falsified,” after a Rutherford County judge signed off on findings reached by the Bradley County grand jury.
Each count represented a separate vehicle involved in the case.
Watson was arrested and booked by agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue this morning in his office at the Justice Center.
He was released on a property bond of $30,000.
Watson had driven all night from a family vacation in Florida to be present as the charges were served.
Watson’s attorney, James Logan, said his client has waived arraignment and asked “for discovery to begin and for a speedy trial.”
“Sheriff Watson is on the job,” Logan told the Cleveland Daily Banner. “It has been said by his accusers justice needs to be done. Both I and Sheriff Watson agree on that point, and have faith in the justice system that will be the outcome of this matter.”
Watson released the following statement:
“For more than a year, I have confronted numerous accusations from some who desire to have more control over county government and the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. I have cooperated with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and responded to anyone who has requested information from me which related to the questions which have arisen.
“To my knowledge, I have not been questioned about the accusations which are contained in an indictment which I have not seen.
“There are two very important messages I want the employees of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and the people of Bradley County to know.
“1. The leadership team and every employee of the Sheriff’s Office will assist me as we continue to provide the best services possible to ensure the safety and property of all citizens and visitors.
“2. I will continue to cooperate with the proper authorities and respond appropriately to the allegations which have been made. I will waive arraignment, speedy trial and advise the court that I plea ‘Not Guilty’ to the accusations.”
According to information on the U.S. District Court website, a grand jury is not responsible for determining whether the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but only whether there is sufficient evidence of probable cause to justify bringing the accused to trial…”