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Washington sheriff’s trial delayed, lawyers say he has the flu

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Jury selection in a case accusing a Washington county sheriff of crimes after his confrontation with a Black newspaper carrier has been delayed.

A judge ordered Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer to take a PCR COVID-19 test Monday after he took two rapid tests, one of which had a faintly positive line, KING 5 reported.

The PCR test results were negative but Troyer’s attorneys said Tuesday that Troyer was diagnosed with Influenza A and staying out of the courtroom.

Troyer, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for decades in Washington’s second-most populous county, has pleaded not guilty to one count of false reporting and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a civil servant.

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He triggered a large police response on Jan. 27, 2021, by telling an emergency dispatcher that the newspaper carrier, Sedrick Altheimer, was threatening to kill him. Tacoma police say Troyer later walked back that claim when questioned by a responding officer.

A six-member jury will decide whether Troyer is guilty of the charges in a week-and-a-half-long trial. Opening statements were scheduled for Nov. 28 in Pierce County District Court in Tacoma but that is likely to be pushed by at least a day after the judge delayed the rest of jury selection until next week.

If convicted, Troyer could face a sentence of up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine on each count, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. A conviction could also provide legal grounds for Troyer’s removal for “malfeasance in office,” The Seattle Times reported.

Troyer was elected sheriff in 2020. He has denied wrongdoing, saying he was following a suspicious vehicle spotted near his home. He has called the charges, filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office last October, a “politically motivated anti-cop hit job.”

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