CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — New information into the state investigation of former Clay County sheriff Darryl Daniels has been released.
The state’s investigation involved an extramarital affair with Cierra Smith — a former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer who was Daniels’ subordinate when he worked for JSO.
The new information includes documents and newly released audio of Daniels from last August — ahead of his resignation and withdrawal from The Clay County sheriff’s race.
In audio and video from August 13, 2020, Daniels can be heard repeatedly pointing to what he calls “dirty politics” being the motivation behind the state-led investigation into his actions.
This was just one day before he withdrew from the election and resigned from office.
Daniels believes he helped to make Clay County a “safer and closer” community, and also questions the state attorney’s timing, maintaining that he is innocent.
“One thing that’s very suspicious to me is within days of a primary election, the powers that be, specifically the state attorney’s office, has decided that today is the day they will execute their plan and intervene in what’s going on with the sheriff, with me,” Daniels said.
Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole is still going through the new information and will have live updates beginning at 4 p.m. on FOX30.
Action News Jax first reported in May 2019 when, then, Sheriff Daniels reportedly accused Smith of stalking him and ordered his deputies to detain her. She was never arrested or charged but many questioned how Daniels handled the events of that night.
The pair admitted they had a long-term affair while Daniels worked at JSO and Smith was his subordinate. Daniels was also running for sheriff at the time.
In June 2019, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed it was investigating Daniels.
In July 2020, State Attorney Melissa Nelson asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to reassign the criminal investigation of Daniels due to a conflict.
On Aug. 13, 2020, Daniels was arrested and booked into the Clay County Jail. On Aug. 14, DeSantis suspended Daniels the week of the Florida Primary Election.
On Aug. 15, Matt Walsh was named the interim sheriff of Clay County.
Sheriff-elect Michelle Cook won the Republican ticket in the primary election, and since her only opposition withdrew from the race, she became the automatic winner of the general election.
On Sept. 1, DeSantis appointed Cook to start her term early.
In December 2020, Daniels was officially charged with evidence tampering and false reports to law enforcement.
Cox Media Group