AIKEN -- Misconduct charges against a former Aiken County Sheriff’s Office deputy were dropped by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper on Tuesday, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Jeffrey Nation, who’s on trial this week for assault and battery charges from a Sept. 2008 incident, was also facing misconduct in the office charges from the state Law Enforcement Division. Cooper dismissed the misconduct indictment after Nation’s lawyer, Jack Swerling, of Columbia, S.C., made a motion for a direct verdict, stating that misconduct in the office is related to a dishonest or deceitful act, which differed from simple assault. Cooper said the simple assault and battery was not a violation of public trust, and although Nation could be prosecuted, misconduct in the office wasn’t warranted based on the facts.
The trial will continue today with the jury hearing from any defense witnesses.
Nation was fired by the sheriff’s office two days after the September 2008 incident where he was seen on video stopping several men in the area and demanding identification without evidence of any crime being committed. The video showed Nation getting into an argument with Lorenzo Williams about pulling his pants up, and ended with Nation hitting him in the throat and attempting to head butt him before arresting Williams.
The entire video, however will not be shown in court, according Assistant Attorney General Dale Scott’s staff. Scott asked the whole tape be admitted, but the request was denied by Cooper.
The state Law Enforcement Division charged Nation with assault and battery and misconduct in the office after Sheriff Michael Hunt requested an investigation.
Nation is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General's Office to avoid conflict of interest, according to the Aiken County Solicitor's Office.