One warrant in Abbott case unsealed; 2nd destroyed
by Larry S. Chowning
The Southside Sentinel recently petitioned Middlesex Circuit Court Judge R. Bruce Long to unseal search warrants that had been sealed prior to the trial of former Middlesex Sheriff Guy L. Abbott. Judge Long agreed to unseal warrants that had been sealed in March of 2010.
The Sentinel also requested that warrants sealed in June of 2010 also be unsealed. However, Middlesex Circuit Court Clerk Lynn Dunlevy said this week that Judge Long ordered the June, 2010 files be destroyed. The envelope that contained the documents stated on the outside of the envelope, “Ordered to be destroyed per Judge R. Bruce Long.” There was no date on the envelope, said Dunlevy.
The two files were originally sealed by Judge Thomas N. Nance.
The applicant for the search warrants was Virginia State Police special agent accountant Jennifer S. Brown. The warrants shed no light on who initiated charges against Abbott. According to court documents, the search warrants were issued because of “preliminary documents received” from the Middlesex County Administrator’s office, the Middlesex Treasurer’s Office, and the Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center. These documents were requested by the State Police.
A motion in the file stated that the purpose of sealing the warrants was that the “public release of the information in the affidavit would jeopardize the integrity of the investigation and the safety of confidential sources.”
This week, Abbott declined to comment on the warrants.
Abbott was found guilty on August 9, 2012 of soliciting bribes from two employees, but on October 11 the convictions were reversed by Judge Paul Sheridan on the grounds that Abbott did not explicitly solicit bribes as defined by state statues.
Abbott was not found guilty of any charges. He originally faced 25 felony counts of bribery, embezzlement and misuse of public funds. The judge found Abbott not guilty on 10 counts of bribery and 10 counts of embezzlement. Another three counts were dismissed by prosecutors.
Abbott, 56, ran unsuccessfully for a fourth term as Middlesex Sheriff in the November 2011 election.