VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) -- A federal jury in Valdosta has acquitted 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 after hearing two days of testimony.

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 of 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 since a grand jury indicted him last year. He faces three opponents in the November election.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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