by Clark Shelton, Rutherford Source
A motion has been filed in U.S. District Court by the U.S. District Attorney looking to revoke Sheriff Robert Arnold’s bond and put him in jail until he goes to trial for fraud and bribery charges early next year.
Based on phone calls and an interview with Arnold’s wife, prosecutors believe the sheriff committed crimes over Labor Day weekend, which violate the conditions of his release.
Arnold is set to appear in front of a Federal Judge Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.
Highlights of the motion include:
- Upon his arrest, the Government did not seek to have Arnold detained, and he was released
by the Honorable John S. Bryant, U.S. Magistrate Judge, subject to certain conditions. (DE# 10,
Order Setting Conditions of Release.) These conditions included the requirement that Arnold “not
violate federal, state, or local law while on release.” (Id.) Arnold was also advised that “[i]t is a
crime punishable by up to ten years in prison . . . to: obstruct a criminal investigation; tamper with
a witness, victim, or informant; retaliate or attempt to retaliate against a witness, victim, or
informant; or intimidate or attempt to intimidate a witness, victim, [or] informant.” (Id.) At the
time, the Government agreed with defense counsel that it would not request the additional
conditional that Arnold “not possess a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon.” (Id.)
- On September 7, 2016, Arnold met with Pretrial Services as part of his regularly scheduled
reporting date. During that meeting, he reiterated that nothing unusual had happened over the
weekend. When asked to prepare a written statement about the events of the weekend, he simply
wrote, “Nothing happened on September 3-5, 2016.” Arnold eventually acknowledged, however,
that two law enforcement officers had come out to his house on the evening of September 5. Arnold
told Pretrial Services that he had called them himself. When asked why he would have called them
if nothing had happened, Arnold said that he did not know, and that he had been very drunk at the
time. Mrs. Arnold also told Pretrial Services that there had been no physical altercation on Labor
- On the same call, Mrs. Arnold explained that she wanted to speak to law enforcement about
the assault, but was reluctant to do so. Part of this reluctance stemmed from Arnold’s repeated
demands that she not make any statement about what had happened. “[T]his is what Robert keeps
getting me on, he keeps telling me, he said, ‘What happens between, in these walls, stays in
between these walls.’ He said, ‘We go to calls all the time when there’s domestic violence and the
people aren’t talking, each of them aren’t talking, and there’s nothing we can do.
- On another recording, she explains that it is hard to “be married for 13 years and then put
him in jail.” She also notes that Arnold has been “saying to me every day” that “you’re going to
ruin our lives” by making a statement, and that he will make her “look bad” if she does.
- This is the first time in our marriage that Robert has physically assaulted me. In the
past he has thrown things out of anger and he has punched walls while angry. The
main form of abuse I have experienced is mental and emotional abuse.
Manipulation every day.(Megan Arnold)
- After Mrs. Arnold returned to town on September 19, she called Special Agent Harbaugh.
She told him that when she had arrived home, Arnold was waiting there with her mother to stage
“an intervention.” The intervention consisted of Arnold berating her for several hours about how
she would ruin both of their lives by making a statement to law enforcement.
- “A person who has been released under section 3142 of this title, and who has violated a
condition of his release, is subject to a revocation of release, an order of detention, and a
prosecution for contempt of court.” 18 U.S.C. § 3148(a). A court “shall enter an order of
revocation and detention” if, after a hearing, it finds that two criteria are met. Id. § 3148(b)
(emphasis added). The first criterion is that the Court find either (a) that there is probable cause to
believe that the defendant has committed a Federal, State, or local crime while on release, or (b)
that there is clear and convincing evidence of any other violation of the conditions of release. Id.
§ 3148(b)(1). The second criterion is that the Court find either (a) that there is no condition or
combination of conditions of release that will assure that the defendant will not flee or pose a
danger to the safety of any other person or the community, or (b) that the defendant is unlikely to
abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release. Id. § 3148(b)(2).
The complete 21 page document can be viewed here. Be warned there is some strong language involved. Sheriff Arnold faces 14 counts for selling e-cigarettes from his company to the Rutherford County Jail. His trial is set for February.