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Judge sets January trial date for suspended Lexington County Sheriff Metts in bribery case

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — South Carolina's longest-serving sheriff is set to go to trial early next year on bribery and conspiracy charges.

Chief U.S. District Judge Terry Wooten says suspended Lexington County Sheriff James Metts' trial will begin Jan. 20. Wooten said Wednesday that he expects the trial to last two weeks.

Prosecutors say Metts allowed friends to buy favors, accepting cash in return for agreeing to assist people who were in the country illegally and who were being detained.

Metts has pleaded not guilty to 10 charges including conspiracy, racketeering and wire fraud.

Metts is free on $100,000 bond and has been suspended from the office he has held since 1972. He is the eighth sheriff in South Carolina to be charged or investigated in the last four years.

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