A federal judge is scheduled to announce the prison sentence of former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford on Monday, despite a last-minute request from Medford’s attorney that the sentencing be delayed
Medford attorneys Victoria Jayne and Stephen Lindsay, in a motion filed Thursday, said Medford has been suffering from “chronic debilitating pain” in his back. Over the years, Medford has had three lower-back surgeries and had an electronic implant inserted in his back to mitigate his pain.
That implant stopped working, according to the court papers, and Medford has had to rely on high dosages of pain medication, which has impacted his mental abilities. His physical condition has deteriorated to the point that Medford “can not sit without being propped up; he can not walk or stand without assistance; he has fallen on several occasions during trips to either the bathroom or doctor visits,” the motion states.
Medford’s doctor advised that that condition required immediate surgery, according to the filing. The surgery was finally scheduled for Oct. 13 after Medford’s insurance company initially refused to pay for the $40,000 operation.
Judge T.S. Ellis, in his Friday order declaring that the sentencing would remain on schedule, said a probation officer’s reports show Medford would be physically able to handle the sentencing appearance. The officer reported that Medford could sit up in bed, was able to walk outside during an August visit and had driven a vehicle 20 miles to and from a doctor’s appointment on Sept. 30.
The sentencing will close another chapter in the Medford case, which began last December with his arrest on federal charges related to his role in an illegal-gambling operation. A jury found Medford and a former deputy guilty after an 11-day trial that laid out their involvement in a multimillion-dollar gambling operation in Western North Carolina that stands as one of Buncombe County’s biggest public corruption cases.
The evidence detailed how Medford and Guy Penland collected tens of thousands of dollars from the owners and operators of video-poker machines operated illegally in the back rooms and quiet corners of convenience stores.
Two of Medford’s other former deputies, Johnny Harrison and Ronnie Eugene “Butch” Davis, will also be sentenced at 2 p.m. on Oct. 6, the court records show. Harrison and Davis both pleaded guilty to charges related to the illegal-gambling operation. Harrison testified against Medford during the trial and said he collected money from video-poker-machine operators and owners and delivered it to Medford. He also explained that Medford used twice-yearly golf tournaments, which included teams of players sponsored by video-poker owners and operators, to raise money for his political campaign in election years, but kept the money for himself in non-election years.
Click here to go to Xpress Files and read the motion filed by Medford’s attorneys, as well as the federal judge’s order.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor