Former Sheriff Accused In Illegal Gambling Ring To Leave Jail

The former Buncombe County sheriff accused of accepting money to protect an illegal gambling operation in western North Carolina will be released from jail pending his trial.

U.S. Attorney Richard Edwards unsuccessfully argued in court Tuesday that Bobby Medford could tap into his old political network to help thwart the public corruption and extortion charges against him.

Medford and three of his deputies have been in jail since their arrest December 13. Medford's attorney said his client will likely will be released this week.

Prosecutors said the men helped video poker operators by not enforcing laws and, in some cases, providing grand jury surveillance and other information only available to law enforcement.

Twenty-seven other people also were charged in the sweeping
investigation, and 20 have pleaded guilty.