HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Forsyth County Candidate Says He Will Still Run For Post
Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jul 2004
Source: Macon Telegraph (GA)
Copyright: 2004 The Macon Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Eliott C. McLaughlin, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


ATLANTA - Gary Beebe is not giving up on his campaign to become
Forsyth County sheriff even though he is accused of accepting
thousands of dollars in cash last week from undercover FBI informants
with the promise of contracts, kickbacks and other special treatment
if elected.

Beebe, 42, has refused to comment about his arrest Tuesday night. The
former Forsyth County sheriff's deputy was released from jail the next
day on a $15,000 bond.

His court-appointed attorney said Thursday that Beebe is not dropping
out of the sheriff's race. Beebe is the only challenger to incumbent
Ted Paxton. Both are Republicans, so voters will choose the sheriff
next week.

"Mr. Beebe remains a candidate for the sheriff of Forsyth County with
considerable support," Attorney Natasha Perdew Silas said in a
prepared statement.

This, despite evidence that includes video and audio tapes depicting
Beebe making cash deals with informants at undisclosed locations.

His attorney said Beebe is dedicated to a career in law enforcement.
Beebe has 15 years of police work with agencies in Forsyth County,
Brunswick and Palmetto.

"Mr. Beebe has strong faith in the system and looks forward to his
ultimate day in court - at which time we plan to present a vigorous
defense," Silas said.

Federal authorities released the video and audio tapes of Beebe's
meetings with informants. The video clips are partially obscured and
appear to be shot in a poorly lit office. Beebe is sitting behind a
desk in all the videos. It appears the camera was in place before
Beebe and the informants entered the room.

On one of the audio tapes of a July 8 meeting between Beebe and an
informant, Beebe is heard saying he will "run roadblock" so the
informant and his henchmen can destroy methamphetamine labs in Forsyth
County. He also tells the informant to keep any cash or drugs he
procures and suggests making it look like a turf war.

"Lady Justice is blind. I'm not blind," Beebe says, referencing the
tendency of some criminals being able to skirt the law on

Later, the informant asks about exacting revenge on a man who once
testified against him. Beebe first responds that if the informant
lures the man to Forsyth County, "We can send him away for a long time
. and I tell you what, I'd rather be dead than go to prison."

The informant then suggests shooting the individual. "I figure that's
the right way," he says. Beebe says something about the murder going
unsolved and when the informant asks Beebe to repeat himself, he says
firmly, "If it happens in Forsyth, it will go unsolved. That's what's

Michael Binford, an associate political science professor at Georgia
State University, said he doesn't recall a case like this in his 25
years in Georgia.

"Usually, if corruption is involved, it's someone who's already in
office. This is sort of prospective corruption," Binford said. "It
would seem virtually impossible for a candidate with these kind of
charges to win."

It's possible Beebe could claim this was a politically motivated
attack, Binford said, but it's difficult to believe that the FBI had a
personal vendetta against a sheriff's candidate in a county of about
100,000 people.

Chairman Jim Harrell of the Forsyth County Republican Party said he
could not comment on Republican primaries or the charges against Beebe.

"It's unfortunate if it's true, and very unfortunate if it's not true,"
Harrell said.
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