Clinch County sheriff aquitted by federal jury

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) - A federal jury in Valdosta has aquitted
Clinch County Sheriff Winston Peterson of perjury and obstruction
of justice charges related to an investigation of alleged
corruption in the south Georgia county.

The jury returned its verdict Thursday morning after hearing two
days of testimony in the case.

Prosecutors accused Peterson of tipping off then-Superior Court
Judge Brooks E. Blitch III to the identity of an FBI informant.

The sheriff also was accused to lying to a grand jury about
conversations he'd had with Blitch about the federal investigation.

Blitch has since resigned from the bench and was indicted in
July on federal corruption charges.

Peterson has remained on the job as sheriff since a grand jury
indicted him last year. He faces three opponents in the November
election.


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