A former agent with the Secret Service, currently campaigning in South Carolina for sheriff faces charges for allegedly masterminding a plot to kidnap a retired circuit judge. James Bartee is running for Oconee County sheriff and the 54-year old was arrested and charged on Wednesday with solicitating the commission of a felony. Authorities said Bartee attempted to pay an individual to kidnap James Williams Jr., a former judge, who is trying to have Bartee taken off the ballot.
Authorities released Mr. Bartee on $10,000 bail, but he will have his passport taken as the court ruled he may try to flee. Following his bail hearing, Bartee denied all accusations and said the truth will be known soon. According to voice recording cited in the warrant for his arrest, Bartee allegedly had plotted for a number of days with the potential kidnapper, who has not been identified.
The Facebook page for Bartee’s campaign shows that an ongoing dispute exists between Bartee and Williams, the retired judge who had filed a suit that claimed Bartee was not eligible to run for the sheriff’s position because he is not certified to be a law enforcement officer in South Carolina. However, Bartee says that his certification as a federal secret service agent is enough to fulfill that requirement.
According to the campaign website for Bartee, he worked with the Secret Service for 25 years before he retired in 2000. The Secret Service did confirm he was a former employee. He was most recently shown in a picture on his website providing security for Michelle Bachman a former presidential candidate for the Republican Party.