Buckingham sheriff sues PAC for $3.35 million

The heated Buckingham sheriff's race just got hotter. Sheriff Danny Williams, who's in a fiercely contested race against William G. "Billy" Kidd, has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Buckingham Good Government League, a political action committee that supports Kidd.

The lawsuit claims that an August 10 full-page ad in the Farmville Herald contained "certain false, scandalous, and defamatory statements" about the sheriff.

"In Virginia, it is illegal to willfully attempt to damage one's livelihood and reputation by false statements," says Glen Allen attorney Michael Lafayette, who's representing Williams.

When the ad was first printed, Lafayette asked the PAC to print a retraction or provide proof of its claims. "Their statements are so ludicrous, of course they couldn't prove them," he says. "You can have an opinion," but Williams objects to the Buckingham Good Government League's claims that the sheriff and his deputies are intimidating citizens.

"We endorsed Billy Kidd because we didn't like what we saw in the other guy," says Don Shumaker, chairman of the PAC and one of the defendants in the lawsuit. "All the facts– we stand behind them because they're a matter of public record."

He says allegations about how Sheriff Williams spent drug money came from county records and a Board of Supervisors-authorized audit of Williams' handling of those funds, and that Buckingham Commonwealth's Attorney E. M. Wright is investigating citizen complaints of intimidation.

This is not the first time controversy has surrounded the Buckingham County Sheriff's office. In 2005, two people told the Hook about being strip-searched on the side of the road by Buckingham deputies on separate occasions. A drug-sniffing dog indicated a hit, but drugs were not found in either case. The Sheriff's office variously said the events didn't happen– or that the victims voluntarily took off their clothes.

Tracey Banks filed a $700,000 lawsuit against former Buckingham deputy Anthony "Tony" Lewis and claims he forced her to perform oral sex when he came to serve a warrant on March 23, 2005. Sheriff Williams is also named in that suit, which may go to court in December.

Elected officials rarely sue for defamation because they're considered public figures. "A lawsuit is the last remedy," says Lafayette. "Frankly, if they hadn't published any more, we would have not sued."

Sheriff Williams did not return a call from the Hook.

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14 comments

If a person were to sue the Buckingham sheriff, the press release by the Sheriff's Office would read "frivolous". But we are suppose to care when the Buckingham sheriff sues somebody? I can't get too excited.

Danny Williams has gone too far. The PAC's ads may have hit too close to home. What happened to freedom of speech?

Sheriff Williams statement in regards this statement "A drug-sniffing dog indicated a hit, but drugs were not found in either case. The Sheriff's office variously said the events didn't happen¢Ã¢â??‰â?¬Å? or that the victims voluntarily took off their clothes. This statement is most erroneous
thing I have ever heard. Because this has personally happened to my

Sorry comment was cut off. My husband has been searched twice and
nothing recovered and he did not voluntarily let them do anything.

Beauford T. Justice was a much better sheriff.

I commend the Chair of the Democratic Party on her choice to leave the party due to this mess with the Sheriff. She should be respected to not want to affiliate herself with such a person as Sheriff Williams.

Perhaps if the Sheriff wins his law suit, he can give his secretary another raise. For the citizens that don't know, the Buckingham County Sheriff's secretary makes almost $36,000 dollars a year. More than starting teacher salaries, more than starting deputies salaries. What other job in Buckingham can you get and make that kind of money without advanced education or training? What exactly do you have to do in the sheriff's office to make that kind of money?

I am very dissapointed in Sheriff Williams. Everyone thought that he was a miracle when he was first elected in 2003, and now look at the situation. It's horrible and he is an embarssment to Buckingham County. The citizens of Buckingham deserve a much better Sheriff, and I really hope that his opponent wins. I support the PAC and the group's desire to shar TRUE and ACCURATE facts to the citizens. In the Sheriff's crimes rates and in other stats he publishes, he has NO source of information, whereas the Good Government League does. And I think that this special audit in no way, shape, or form is politically motivated. If it were politically motivated, the Judge of the Circuit Court could have stopped the investigation, and the State Attorney General could havs said "no" to the audit. The Sheriff and his big city lawyer need to face the facts and stop causing harm to others. The Sheriff has already done ENOUGH harm to this beautiful county that I call home.

When the Chair of the Democratic Committee steps down because she can't support the Democratic nominee for Sheriff, somebody needs to be asking questions!!! What a move for someone so dedicated to the Party to make. Congrats for standing up for your beliefs Ms. Chair. I hope others will follow suit.

Danny Williams has evidence that would have exonerated me when two of his deputies falsely charge me with assaulting them after they assaulted me without cause. When I initially made a formal complaint against these officers, Sherriff Williams did nothing. While awaiting trial, these deputies changed their stories three times and Sherriff Williams still did nothing. He is corrupt and condones his officers' misconduct time and time again. He should never be in a position of power.
It is ironic that Mr. Williams wants to sue PAC; I could sue because of his officers violating my fourth amendment rights, entering my home without a warrant or my consent, falsely charging me and physically hurting me.

Thank you Danny Williams for a job well done. May God bless you and your staff. There are so many people who are behind Williams. He is doing a fine job. I am ashamed at the immature adults that have caused such an uproar in the community during this election. May God bless all those in buckingham County. God Bless the USA

I hope that those that have commented on this site will consider writing letters to the editor of the Farmville Herald. Buckingham County residents need to know the truth, and Sheriff Williams is doing all he can to suppress the truth. Now is the time to act!! If he wins this election, Buckingham will be in one heck of a state of intimadation for a long time to come. If he doesn't go this year, I am afraid he will stay in office as long as he wants. We have to speak out. Tell your friends how you feel. Let your church members know. Danny Williams has pulled the wool over our eyes long enough.

I was on the Kidd for Sheriff Campaign and couldn't be happier with the results of the election!!!! Thanks to Buckingham citizens that helped elect Billy Kidd!

The people have spoken, and they have made the right choice.