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Witness freed from jail, must testify

Clayton County Superior Court Judge Matthew O. Simmons released a jailed former sheriff's employee from contempt charges, Thursday, with several conditions, including that she testify before a special grand jury Sept. 16.

Naomi Simone Nash, 35, of Tallahassee, burst into loud sobs as she was led from the courtroom Thursday morning following the brief hearing. She was jailed Sept. 2, after refusing to answer grand jurors' questions, because she might incriminate herself. She said Wednesday there was a misunderstanding, and she wanted to testify "as soon as possible."

Chief Assistant District Attorney Erman Tanjuatco said Nash is cooperating with prosecutors and gave a three-hour taped interview Wednesday.

Nash worked under former sheriff, Victor Hill, who served one term during 2005-2008. It is expected she will be asked about her time in the sheriff's office, but Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson has declined to discuss ongoing grand jury investigations.

Hill's campaign reports show that he paid Nash $15,000 and listed her as his campaign manager.

Simmons released Nash on special conditions. "I find she has purged herself of contempt and she is released to come back Friday, the 16th, to testify before the grand jury," said Simmons. "She must wear an ankle monitor until she is otherwise released."

Tanjuatco said the ankle monitor will be paid for from witness fees. Nash will stay with a local resident until Friday, he said.

Lawson will not confirm or deny that Hill is a target of a special grand jury investigation. In May, Hill's former spokesman, Jonathan Newton, was indicted on forgery, lying and theft charges.