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Oconee Sheriff Candidate Charged in Judge Kidnapping Plot

James Bartee is charged with solicitation to commit a felony.

A candidate for Oconee County sheriff was arrested Wednesday after being accused of trying to arrange the kidnapping of a retired judge.

James Richard Bartee Jr., 54, of Seneca was charged by SLED with solicitation to commit a felony.

According to warrant issued by SLED, Bartee, a retired U.S. Secret Service agent, is accused of trying to arrange to have retired circuit Judge James C. Williams Jr. kidnapped.

The warrant said Bartee gave the individual money to buy the items needed to commit the kidnapping. Bartee's actions were caught on an audio recording, the warrant said.

The Anderson Independent-Mail reports that Bartee was taken into custody at the Anderson County Courthouse, where Judge Cordell Maddox was holding a hearing on an action that Williams had filed seeking to remove Bartee from the ballot for the June 12 GOP primary.

Williams had contended that Bartee should not be allowed to run for sheriff because he is not certified as a law enforcement officer in South Carolina.

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