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Ex-Marion sheriff charged with perjury accepts plea deal, drops out of race

Marion Co. Sheriff Chris Blair resigns, drops out of upcoming sheriff's race

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Former Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair, who was arrested on perjury charges, has accepted a plea agreement to drop out of the upcoming sheriff's race and resign from office, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said on Friday.

Blair was suspended from office after he was arrested on perjury and official misconduct charges in May. He could have faced up to 15 years in prison on three charges.

As part of the agreement, Blair withdrew from the upcoming sheriff's election. According to the plea agreement, Blair can never run for sheriff in any county of the Fifth Judicial Circuit and cannot move to seal or expunge the record of the arrest or investigation.

Prosecutors said Blair had lied about injuries a suspect suffered during an arrest. A grand jury report released last month also found that Blair would stop "at no means" to make traffic stops and make and clear arrests. The grand jury said it believed the sheriff pressured his deputies to make arrests, played favorites and blatantly ignored excessive-force claims.

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Christopher Blair Plea Agreement by Melodi Smith on Scribd