RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Suspended Chester County, S.C. Sheriff Alex Underwood appeared in a Richland County courtroom Thursday afternoon on new state corruption allegations, according to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
The indictment against Underwood and others were unsealed shortly after the court appearance. The state indicted Underwood on 10 new allegations including criminal conspiracy, misconduct in office, using his office for financial gain, embezzlement and forgery.
Along with Underwood, the state also indicted former Chester County Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse and former Chester County Lt. Johnny Neal.
You can read the entire indictment below:
According to Robert Kittle with the Attorney General’s office, Underwood appeared before Judge DeAndrea Benjamin in Richland County at 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
In May 2019, Underwood was suspended and an interim sheriff appointed after Underwood, his chief deputy and a lieutenant were indicted by a federal grand jury on federal civil rights charges.
After the indictment was announced, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order suspending Underwood from the office of Sheriff of Chester County and appointing Donald Max Dorsey as interim sheriff until Underwood is acquitted, or the indictment is otherwise disposed of, or until a sheriff is elected in the next general election, whichever happens first.
The indictment stems from the arrest of Kevin Simpson on November 20, 2018.
Simpson was arrested by Underwood himself after the Sheriff approached him while he was streaming a manhunt happening right in front of his house on Facebook.
The video shows Underwood and Simpson talking. Simpson makes a comment as Underwood walked away. The video then shows Underwood going back on Simpson’s porch and arresting him.
Specifically, the indictment says Underwood lunged out to grab and restrain the resident by his torso, and demanded that the resident turn over his cellphone.
Court records show the charges against the Simpsons were dismissed in May 2019, two days after Underwood and his two deputies were indicted.
Later in May 2019, Federal prosecutors accused Underwood of having contacted witnesses in his criminal case in an attempt to intimidate them.