Support gathers for former Marion County sheriff ahead of arraignment
OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Sporting t-shirts and signs, they got together at the courthouse Tuesday morning, to support former Marion County Sheriff, Chris Blair.
"Chris Blair is for the people,” said Linda Castello. She is one of Blair’s die-hard supporters. "One little spot on the paper doesn't make somebody that imperfect,” she added.
That "spot" is the fact that Blair was taken off the job last month, accused of lying on the stand about an excessive force case. Blair was indicted on charges of perjury and official misconduct. Tuesday morning, neither Blair nor his attorney showed up in court for his arraignment. Instead, a written plea of not guilty was filed.
"These charges, they're ridiculous, as far as I'm concerned,” said Jay Warsaw. He is also firmly in former Sheriff Blair's corner. "Everybody's trying to trash our Sheriff. He doesn't need to be trashed at all. He's a very good man."
In the face of those serious charges and the indictment Warsaw was asked why he was supporting Blair. "We believe the charges are not true. We're here to support him, and continue to support him," he said.
Marion County's Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Wilcox said, as of Tuesday, Blair's campaign is still active. Wilcox said Blair has until Friday to submit documents to become an official qualified candidate for Sheriff.
We called Sheriff Blair and stopped by his home seeking comment for this story. When we hear back from him, we will let you know.