U.S. Attorney Files Motion To Revoke Embattled Sheriff's Pre-Trial Release

Posted at 5:46 PM, Sep 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-26 21:00:26-04

The U.S. Attorney filed a motion to revoke the pre-trial release for Sheriff Robert Arnold, saying he has become a danger to his wife following allegations of domestic abuse.

The sheriff was set to go before a judge on domestic abuse allegations Tuesday, and could end up in handcuffs and behind bars.

"I wouldn't say it's a slam dunk, but it's definitely not the position you want to be in if you are under federal indictment," said NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

Arnold was accused of corruption linked to the sale of E-Cigs in the Rutherford County jail. The feds have allowed him to be free on pre-trial release until the case goes to court in February.

However, with accusations that Arnold roughed up his wife, prosecutors want  the judge of pull the release and send Arnold to jail.

"This is where your federal judges have a whole lot of power," said Leonardo.

In the new motion,  the U.S. Attorney said Arnold's wife is heard on a phone call recording saying "... that it is hard to be married for 13 years and then put him in jail."

She said her husband told her ".... you're going to ruin our lives by making a statement."

She said of police "... I'm not doing anything because you guys won't lock him up immediately."

The U.S. Attorney also argued "... Arnold will continue to pose a serious danger to the safety of his wife. She has described prior incidents of Arnold's violent outbursts, including throwing things and punching walls, as well as a long history of mental and emotional abuse."

The problem for prosecutors was that Arnold's wife has since said the argument with her husband was not physical. She never filed a police report and no criminal charges were ever filed.

"Without the alleged victim's cooperation it will be very difficult to get a conviction for domestic assault," said Leonardo.

Sources told NewsChannel 5, barring some new development, it's possible instead of being sent to jail Arnold could remain free provided he agrees to seek alcohol abuse therapy and anger management counseling.

The judge could also restrict Arnold from keeping a gun at his home or in his car.  If by chance his wife has a change of heart by Tuesday and files a criminal complaint, then everything changes and Arnold could go to jail while he awaits trial.