Lawsuit targets Michigan sheriff over deputizing residents

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FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A federal lawsuit says the Genesee County sheriff received payments in exchange for deputizing residents who he thought would bolster his political power.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit by attorney Scott Batey says Robert Pickell deputized people for $65-$300 a year, which allowed them to act as a deputy and agent for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and receive work as process servers.

Pickell tells The Flint Journal there’s “no merit” to the allegations in the lawsuit.

Pickell and a process server management company are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which alleges violations of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Batey says “using political office for personal gain is outrageous.”

No court date has been set to hear the case.

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