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Augusta County BOS criminal investigation: Has a special prosecutor been appointed?

Chris Graham
Augusta County
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A special prosecutor may or may not have been appointed to investigate criminal allegations against two members of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.

We’d like to be able to say for sure, but we can’t.

Tim Martin, the Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney, said back on Nov. 2 that he was going to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the criminal complaint against Board of Supervisors members Gerald Garber and Jeffrey Slaven, who are alleged to have tried to get a state employee, Sheryl Helsel, fired from her job because she was planning to speak out on a matter before the county BOS.

Background on the criminal complaint

I reached out to Martin on Monday to find out if a special prosecutor had been appointed.

“I actually don’t know,” Martin said by email. “I requested a special, and then the judge from there will choose who it is.  I don’t know who he chose.”

That request from Martin would have gone to the Augusta County Circuit Court.

I then reached out to Heather Griffin, the judicial assistant to Augusta County Circuit Court Judge Shannon T. Sherrill, a former assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Waynesboro who was appointed to his judicial post earlier this year.

Griffin’s response: “This office only recently took over finding special prosecutors for cases and the one that I have done since taking over that responsibility had a seal order. Meaning, I cannot speak to which case it is, who the defendants or potential defendants are, or which special prosecutor was appointed. Therefore, I cannot speak to this matter, if it even was this case or not.”

So, here’s what we know: Martin says he requested that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the complaint against Garber and Slaven, that request went to the Circuit Court, and no one there can say whether or not a special prosecutor has been appointed.

A cynic processing all of this might muse out loud about how it looks like there’s a different approach to criminal justice when it involves elected public officials, as opposed to, say, you or me.

I’d say, don’t assume the worst here, just because it’s been four weeks, we’ve heard nothing, and we still know nothing.

Don’t assume there’s something going on here to make sure this quietly blows over and goes away on its own.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].