A Clayton County grand jury is expected to hear evidence, this morning, against a former sheriff accused of theft, lying, racketeering, and influencing witnesses.
Victor Keith Hill, 46, could also be indicted for violation of his oath of office, as the charges are alleged to have occurred during his 2005 to 2008 term as sheriff. If indicted and convicted, Hill would face years in prison.
Through his defense attorney, Steve Frey, Hill maintains his innocence.
Hill supporters are expected to rally at the Clayton County Courthouse this morning, led by New Order leader Gerald Rose, of Cobb County.
"We will assemble outside the courthouse at 8:30 a.m.," said Rose. "The support rally and press conference will take place while Victor Hill is in front of the grand jury."
Former Hill employee, Naomi Simone Nash, 35, of Tallahassee, was jailed briefly in September for allegedly refusing to testify before a special grand jury convened to investigate Hill.
Nash worked for Hill during his term as sheriff. Hill's election documents show that he paid Nash $15,000 and listed her as his campaign manager. She is expected to give testimony today.
Another former Hill employee, Jonathan Yusef Newton, 38, was arrested in May on a bench warrant, while at his job as a Palmetto police officer. A secret grand jury returned a 12-count indictment against him, outlining a pattern of theft and forgery, while Newton worked for the Clayton County Sheriff's Office under Hill.
Hill said he plans to run a third time for sheriff, this year. He served one term, and failed to garner a second term.
Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, who also plans to run for re-election, defended himself, Tuesday, against charges that the investigation of Hill is “political,” aimed at derailing his campaign for sheriff. The charges gave been lodged by Hill, indirectly, through other media sources and groups.
“This investigation is not politically motivated, and there is no conflict of interest,” said Kimbrough.
Clayton District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson, who took office as Hill's bid for re-election failed, recused herself from the case to avoid the accusation that the prosecution is driven by politics. She appointed Alcovy Circuit District Attorney Layla Zon to handle the case.
Grand jurors meet and deliberate in secret, beyond the prying eyes of the public. However, that hasn't stopped some of them from expressing concern about their safety, because of the wide-spread attention the case has generated.
If Hill is indicted today, he will be arrested and taken into custody. He is not expected to be housed inside the jail he once commanded. Sheriff’s spokesman, Lt. Brian Crisp, said other arrangements have been made.
“There is a plan in place,” said Crisp. “He will not be housed in the Clayton County Jail.”
If he is arrested, Hill’s first court appearance will be for arraignment. If bond cannot be set on his charges, or if a bond is too high for him to post, his attorney will have to petition the court for a reasonable bond.