Day 2 of witness testimony concludes in trial of former Clay County sheriff

·3 min read

Day two of testimony in the trial of former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels concluded Wednesday afternoon.

Throughout the day, the jury heard from Clay County Sheriff’s Department staff members and the lead Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigator in the Daniels case.

One key piece of evidence played in court was a two-hour-long excerpt from Daniels’ interview with FDLE investigators.

During the interview, Daniels was under oath.

Throughout the interview, Daniels made multiple claims that have been disputed by witness testimony throughout the trial.

Arguably the biggest contrast between Daniels’ statements during the interview and the testimony of witnesses surrounds the events that transpired on May 6, 2019 – the day Daniels’ former mistress Cierra Smith was arrested on charges of stalking and trespassing.

Specifically, the contrast comes in answers to the question of whether Daniels instructed his deputy to make the arrest.

Sgt. Christopher Ruby testified Tuesday that Daniels said he wanted Smith arrested, though Ruby said he thought of Daniels’ comment as a request from a victim rather than a command from a higher-ranking officer.

In Daniels’ sworn testimony to FDLE investigators, Daniels repeatedly denied telling Ruby what to do with Smith, even stating he didn’t believe there was probable cause for Smith to be arrested.

Phone records between Daniels and his former mistress were also front and center Wednesday.

The state attempted to use those phone records to establish that Daniels and his ex-mistress hadn’t broken off their relationship before the May 6 incident that ended in Smith’s arrest.

FDLE inspector Keith Riddick led the investigation into Daniels.

Read: Darryl Daniels trial: Court listens to Daniels’ interview with FDLE investigator

Riddick testified he obtained nearly 2,000 communications between Daniels and Smith after Smith agreed to allow her phone data to be used as evidence.

One of the main questions in the case surrounds whether Smith and Daniels planned to meet on May 6, 2019 — a meeting Daniels told investigators under oath he never agreed to.

Smith testified on Tuesday the meeting was planned and she intended to hand over a recording to Daniels during that meeting.

Cellphone records show Daniels instructed Smith o obtain files related to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office internal investigation into Smith.

Smith testified she planned to deliver CDs to Daniels on May 6 that included a recorded phone conversation between Daniels and her husband that had been captured in the JSO investigation.

“His audio from integrity and Internal Affairs,” Daniels sent in a text message to Smith in the days leading up to the May 6 incident.

The text was sent a few days after an April 28 meeting between Daniels and Smith, which the defense has argued was the day Daniels broke things off with Smith.

On May 3, Smith received a profanity-laden text from Daniels’ phone, which has been attributed to Daniels’ wife.

Additional phone records presented in the courtroom Wednesday revealed Daniels’ agency phone had data deleted from it.

Questions on that topic ate up the bulk of the afternoon.

The deletion of Daniels’ Gmail account and the deletion of apps and other data from his agency phone are where the two stiffest charges he faces come into play.

The defense argued Daniels deleted that information prior to having any knowledge he was under investigation.

It was a point Riddick acknowledged during cross-examination.

But the state pointed out Daniels’ entire call log had been deleted on his agency phone, along with 78 text messages.

Riddick testified physical evidence extracted from Daniels’ agency phone showed CashApp, Snapchat and Kick Messenger had been installed and deleted from his phone, apps Daniels told investigators under oath he’d never had on his agency phone.

In all, Daniels is facing two felony counts of evidence tampering and five misdemeanor counts of lying to law enforcement.

He faces a maximum of 15 years if convicted.


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