Testimony continues in Victor Hill trial

Testimony continues in Victor Hill trial

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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -

In the second day of the corruption trial of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, a former chief deputy says he was fired for refusing to secretly record Hill's arch rival.

Former Clayton County Chief Deputy John Gibson told a jury that after Hill lost the election to rival Kem Kimbrough in 2008, he wasn't around much to run the department.

"He would call in occasionally, but he wasn't there that often," said Gibson.

Prosecutors say Hill took off to gambling spots and luxury hotels with two sheriff's department employees after the defeat.

Beatrice Powell, who the sheriff placed on administrative leave, and former sheriff department employee Naomi Nash say they were his travel companions.

The defense countered by getting Gibson to admit the lame duck sheriff was regularly checking in.

Hill, who was re-elected sheriff last year, faces 28 felony counts of corruption. The state says he stole money from taxpayers by using county cars, credit cards and employees for personal gain. Hill says the case amounts to political vengeance by rival Kimbrough.

Gibson concluded his testimony by telling jurors why he severed ties with the department.

"I was fired because the sheriff asked me to secretly tape Sheriff Kimbrough and I wouldn't do it," Gibson said.

Nash told the jury she traveled to casinos and resorts with Hill and Powell after he lost the 2008 primary election.

Nash was Hill's close friend and campaign manager. Prosecutors asked Nash about a $15,000 check Hill wrote to her for running the campaign, but Nash told jurors that most of the money ended up in Hill's hands. She testified that she actually only received about $1,000.

Nash was initially reluctant to cooperate with the grand jury investigation looking into Hill's trips. She even went to jail for a week on a contempt charge.

Hill's attorneys pointed out that the travel happened in 2008, but only became a criminal matter when the 48-year-old announced he wanted his job back.

Prosecutors say they could rest their case as early as Monday.

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