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DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Sheriff's Actions "Unprofessional", But Not Criminal


Onslow County's district attorney says Sheriff Ed Brown broke no laws, but his actions were "unprofessional" when he called his political opponent two weeks ago.

Last week, the phone call between Brown and Hans Miller surfaced where the sheriff warned his opponent that he could be part of a criminal investigation.

Brown told Miller that he was going to turn over information to the District Attorney's Office that Miller and his campaign were connected to the bomb threats that plagued Onslow County Schools and businesses.

Miller and Brown are the two Republican candidates for sheriff in the primary election which is 11 days away.

D.A. Ernie Lee said after reviewing hundreds of pages of evidence, and hours of records, he found no credible evidence that Miller or his campaign were involved in the bomb threats.

Lee says after consulting with the SBI and the state Board Elections, he found no election law violations with the sheriff making the phone call.

While there was nothing criminal, Lee says at the time of the phone call the sheriff knew there was no credible connection between Miller and the bomb threats.

"I do not condone the actions or words of Sheriff Brown during his phone call to Hans Miller on April 11, 2014. I find those actions and words to be unprofessional, and to reflect unfavorably upon Sheriff Brown" said the district attorney. "However, I conclude that Sheriff Brown's actions and words are not criminal, based upon my review of North Carolina law and my contact with the state Board of Elections."


Previous Story

The race for sheriff in Onslow County has heated up after a telephone call surfaced between the two Republican candidates.

In the phone call, Sheriff Ed Brown cautions challenger Hans Miller that he could be part of a criminal investigation.

Brown told Miller that he was going to turn over information to the District Attorney's Office that Miller and his campaign were connected to a rash of bomb threats that plagued Onslow County Schools and businesses.

Gerald Jackson was arrested April 7th for a series of bomb threats in the county.

"This young man has told me you're the reason for these bomb threats and the general public is going to believe that because of how it's been playing out," said the sheriff on the recording. "He says you put him up to it," Brown told Miller.

In the call, Brown is also heard telling Miller that he was going to hold a news conference to let the public know about the allegations.

Miller says he recorded the phone call that was made last Friday. "I am disappointed in dirty politics and false accusations," Miller told WITN News this morning. He said he would rather lose an election than lose his integrity. "The truth will come out. I always tell the truth."

Brown has been sheriff for the past 24 years and last year switched political parties. "I did make a courtesy call to him, now I'm going to let the case take its course," the sheriff said to us on the phone this morning.

Later, the sheriff issued a statement. "I never ever planned to do a media release about Mr. Miller being implicated in the bomb threats. And I don't plan to remark on the case at this time. I did make a call to Mr. Miller. A recording of that call will be sent to the District Attorney's Office as well as all other recordings and all other evidence."

"I have not gotten any reports yet from the Onslow County Sheriffs Office," said District Attorney Ernie Lee. "I'm still waiting for the investigation to get to me before I can comment any further."

The winner of the May 6th primary will face Democrat Scott Himes in November.


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