Medford requests plea bargain records

Former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford has asked for—and will receive—the records of hearings involving plea bargains by a former deputy and a longtime political ally to help prepare his legal defense against federal corruption charges, court documents show.

Through his attorney, Stephen Lindsay, Medford requested transcripts—at the government’s expense—of the plea deals and accompanying hearings for former Lt. Ronnie “Butch” Davis and Jackie Shepherd, a Weaverville businessman and longtime supporter during Medford’s 12 years in office.

On March 7, both Shepherd and Davis accepted plea deals. Davis pleaded guilty to 11 counts involving mail fraud, extortion and corruption. Shepherd, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling business through his company Western Amusements. He also forfeited money and property, while charges against his son and stepson were dropped.

This is the third time Medford has asked for such transcripts. The first request, on Dec. 20, concerned documents related to former Capt. Tracy Keith Bridges, a confessed bagman for Medford’s alleged operation. The request also covered several employees of Henderson Amusements who are alleged to have been involved with Medford’s operations concerning the company’s illegal video-poker machines.

The second request came shortly after former Lt. John “Johnny” Harrison copped a plea on Feb. 27.

Medford and reserve Capt. Guy Penland, the lone remaining deputy charged with him who has not yet accepted a plea bargain, are scheduled to go to trial March 25.

Xpress will post daily reports on the trial starting Tuesday, March 25, at www.mountainx.com.

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