BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The trial for Gary Smith, the former police chief in Southport, which was scheduled to begin in Brunswick County court on July 25, 2022, has now been pushed back to September 26. According to the District Attorney’s Office, a family matter involving a defense attorney is the reason for the postponement.
Smith and his second-in-command at the time, then-Lieutenant Michael Simmons, were charged on July 26, 2018 with conspiracy to Obtain Property by False Pretenses, Willful Failure to Discharge Duties, and Obstruction of Justice.
Smith was also later indicted on an additional charge of obtaining property by false pretense. The former law enforcement officers were accused of working for a trucking company during hours they claimed to be policing in Southport.
After their arrest, the town’s police department shut down. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office took over patrol while an investigation and audit took place. Since then, the Southport Police Department has been completely re-established with new officers, equipment and a new building.
Simmons has the same September 26, 2022 trial date as Smith, but the two will be tried separately, according to the DA’s office.
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