‘Partisan hit-job’: Franklin County sheriff’s attorney blasts impeachment inquiry

Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore in St. Albans on Aug. 2. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger An attorney representing Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore blasted the Vermont House committee investigating whether Grismore should be impeached in a letter to its chair on Friday, calling the inquiry “autocratic” and an effort at “supplanting the will of the electorate” in the county. The missive also states that the sheriff will comply with a recent subpoena to testify before the panel on Monday — but only if the entire hearing is open to the public. The impeachment committee ordered Grismore to testify on Dec. 11, but wrote in a Dec. 1 subpoena that some of the hearing could be held in an executive session. Grismore’s attorney, Robert Kaplan, wrote in his letter to Rep. Martin LaLonde, D-South Burlington, that Grismore “will not appear before the Impeachment Committee in secret, closed proceedings from which the press and public are excluded.” The panel has repeatedly met behind closed doors since it began its work in May — a decision that has repeatedly drawn criticism from Vermont news organizations , including the Vermont Press Association and the Vermont Association of Broadcasters. Kaplan called the committee a “star chamber,” a term that refers to a medieval English court that imposed harsh punishments with little oversight. He also referenced Joseph Stalin’s Soviet security apparatus, writing, “The spirit of the Impeachment Committee seems adherent to the infamous quote by Lavrentiy Beria, Josef Stalin’s head of the secret police, to ‘show me the man and I will show you the crime.’” “Despite the shaky foundation, questionable legitimacy and autocratic conduct of the Impeachment Committee, Sheriff Grismore is willing to appear before the Impeachment Committee and answer questions,” read the letter, which was also sent to reporters. In an interview Friday […]

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By Donato