Sheriff Metts expected in court on federal charges

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's longest-serving sheriff is expected in court in a federal bribery case.

Records show Lexington County Sheriff James Metts has a pretrial conference scheduled for Wednesday. Jury selection is currently scheduled for later this month.

Metts has pleaded not guilty to charges including bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors say he allowed friends to buy favors, accepting cash in return for agreeing to assist people who were in the country illegally and who were being detained.

Metts is free on $100,000 bond and has been suspended from the office he has held since 1972. He is the eighth sheriff in South Carolina to be charged or investigated in the last four years.