AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith posted an anonymous video on Facebook this week that Smith said was part of a smear campaign against him ahead of the upcoming election in November.
Screenshot of ACSO Facebook page. | Credit: Augusta County Sheriff's Office.
The video draws connections between Smith and a federal labor trafficking and witness tampering investigation that took place in 2015 by using court records.
The video alleged that Smith had lied to investigators, obstructed justice and attempted to interfere with the investigation, which resulted in guilty pleas and prison time for Maria Rosalba Alvarado, former owner of Inca's Secret Shop in Harrisonburg, and her son, Felix Adriano Chujoy.
Sheriff Smith said in a public Facebook post from the Augusta County Sheriff's Office page that he met Felix Chujoy in 2010 while they were both enrolled in college and working out in Harrisonburg, and the two became close friends.
When Chujoy and his mother were arrested, Smith says he was in contact with him through letters and phone calls. He agreed to keep up with Chujoy's bills while he was in jail and offered him a cell phone to use when he was released.
The video alleges that the letters and calls were deceptive and used to interfere with the investigation.
However, Smith says he was just helping out a friend in a time of need.
It is unclear who actually made the video. Smith said in a press release that it was given to him, and it was supposed to be released closer to the election to sway voters.
Smith also stated that similar allegations against him were brought up during his first campaign for sheriff, and when he explained facts, with documentation, about what happened, reporters decided not to move forward with a story about the claims.
He decided to release the video himself and addressed the accusations, he says, as an effort to be transparent.
"He came to me in his time of need and asked me for help and I did what I felt was the right thing," Smith concludes in his statement. "I could have easily turned my back on him because of my position. However, I have helped countless people in their time of need, and if I had it to do all over again, I would have handled this the exact same way. . . Do not fall for dirty politics and this smear campaign."