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State auditor's office conducts investigation into former Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell

Cecil Cantrell

Updated Article - An affidavit states former Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell violated state law by using inmate labor to build his political campaign signs.

Posted: Aug 21, 2019 11:30 AM
Updated: Aug 21, 2019 4:26 PM

ABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) - The state auditor’s office has sent an affidavit summarizing the agency’s findings into allegations involving former Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell.

According to the state office, an investigation was conducted, and the affidavit was sent to the county prosecutor.

“Our understanding is the sheriff has resigned as a result,” read a statement from the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor.

The auditor’s office later sent a copy of the affidavit to WTVA.

According to the document, Cantrell unlawfully, willfully and knowingly violated state law on or about April 12.

Cantrell is accused of using inmate labor to construct personal political campaign signage.

A video surfaced in July showing an inmate putting together the sheriff’s campaign signs. He said someone recorded the video in March or April.

Cantrell said he did not encourage the inmate to perform the task. The inmate put the campaign signs together out of boredom, he said.

Cantrell abruptly resigned as sheriff on Tuesday.

However, his time as sheriff was to conclude at the end of the year because of his defeat in the Aug. 6 Democratic Primary.

Less than 24 hours after Cantrell's resignation, Republican Andy Hood dropped out of the race to become sheriff.

Hood was to face Democrat Kevin Crook in the November general election.

With Hood's decision, Crook remains the only candidate seeking the office.

In the meantime, Chief Deputy Curtis Knight has assumed the role of Monroe County sheriff.

County supervisors are expected to make a decision on a temporary appointment soon.

Editor's Note: This article was modified Wednesday afternoon to include the affidavit's contents.

 

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