Report details why SLED dropped investigation into Atlantic Beach election

SLED launched the investigation in 2019

Report details why SLED dropped investigation into Atlantic Beach election
The State Law Enforcement Division last year dropped its investigation into the 2019 Atlantic Beach mayoral election after failing to find any evidence. (Source: MyHorryNews)

Story courtesy of our news partners, MyHorryNews

The State Law Enforcement Division last year dropped its investigation into the 2019 Atlantic Beach mayoral election after failing to find any evidence.

The investigation focused on whether Mayor Jake Evans’ sister, Irene Armstrong, had offered to help one of her tenants with rent if her tenant would vote for her brother, Jake Armstrong, in the 2019 election.

SLED dropped the investigation after failing to find any participating witnesses or evidence of bribery or illegal influence.

“As it is, there is no evidence to believe that either Armstrong or Mayor Evans tried to bribe anyone or illegally influence Mr. Evan’s reelection,” Solicitor Jimmy Richardson wrote in October to Special Agent Brad Thompson, who conducted the investigation.

According to an investigative report the agency released in February, the inquiry started when William Booker, a former Atlantic Beach town manager and 2019 town council candidate, called Richardson saying he had information that people may have been offered things of value in exchange for their vote. Richardson called SLED.

Generally, SLED is called in to investigate political offices to avoid a conflict of interest.

“You put police in a strange situation when you’re saying ‘Go investigate your boss,’” Richardson said.

Click here for the full report.

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