Gwinnett County’s sheriff has responded to allegations of extortion that are under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Keybo Taylor, who was elected sheriff in November 2020, is under investigation at the request of the state Attorney General’s Office. The Associated Press reports the investigation began Sept. 14, two months before Taylor was elected, and the investigation is “active and ongoing.”
According to the AP, four lawsuits — one federal and three state — have been filed against Taylor by three Gwinnett County bail bond companies whose businesses were shut down. The owners claim Taylor retaliated against them because they did not donate to his election campaign.
The state cases were filed by Anytime Bail Bonding, A-Action and The Bondsman.
“The law states that the Sheriff determines which bond companies can operate in Gwinnett.” Taylor stated in a news release. “I will only allow companies that meet my high standards for integrity and that follow the law and the bonding rules. As Sheriff, I closed companies that failed that standard.”
Taylor contends the investigation stems from a “tampered, redacted” 20-second clip taken from a 20-minute video recorded by Anytime Bail Bonding.
“They deliberately took my statements out of context to distort the truth,” Taylor stated. “The deleted portion would prove that I did nothing wrong and that is why they deleted it.”
Taylor said the company’s owner, Scott Hall, then lied to him about the video.
“I refused to allow Anytime Bonding to continue operating because of their lack of integrity, deceptive practices and dishonesty,” Taylor stated. “In return, they sued me for closing their business.”
Taylor said he closed The Bondsman for failing to meet financial obligations. The Bondsman’s case was dismissed on May 18, the AP reported. The company’s owner said he plans to appeal.
“In the end, the GBI investigation and the civil suit will fail because I have done nothing wrong,” Taylor stated.