Georgia county sheriff resigns in disgrace and pleads guilty to fondling celebrity TV judge

August 25, 2023
Ben Marquis

A Georgia county sheriff was compelled to resign his elected position on Monday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor crime in Cobb County court.

Now-former Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody was accused of fondling the breasts of local TV personality Judge Glenda Hatchett during a state sheriff's convention in 2022 and has pled guilty to the charges, according to Breitbart.

Coody's resignation in disgrace comes just a few months after it was revealed that he had previously been in trouble for misconduct several years ago but had managed to have that trouble kept hidden from the general public -- that is until it was accidentally revealed earlier this year in a records request.

Disgraced sheriff pleads guilty

Georgia's 11Alive reported on Monday that Sheriff Coody pleaded guilty to groping Judge Hatchett in the bar of a Cobb County hotel where a sheriff's convention was being held in early 2022.

In exchange for his plea, Coody was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation, perform 40 hours of community service, pay a $500 fine, undergo a psychosexual evaluation, complete a drug and alcohol abuse course, and refrain from making any further contact with his victim.

Should he violate any aspect of that sentencing order, Cobb State Court Judge Carl Bowers told Coody, "I will lock you up. Not a threat, simply a promise."

Resignation announced alongside plea

11Alive further reported that Coody announced his guilty plea in a resignation letter released on Monday that said, "This morning I plead Guilty to a misdemeanor charge in Cobb County State Court. To be clear, I had no intent to touch Ms. Hatchett inappropriately. Unfortunately, I acted in a careless manner and for that I have taken full responsibility for my actions."

"Additionally, I have resigned as the Sheriff of Bleckley County effective 8:00 a.m. August 21, 2023, and as such thereby forfeited the pension that is typically associated with that office," he continued.

Coody's letter went on to apologize to the people of Bleckley County and thank them for electing him. He also seemed to warn other elected officials to be "vigilant" of certain "pitfalls" that could derail their careers while seemingly indicating that, despite his resignation in disgrace, he would "move forward and overcome this setback."

Any sort of political comeback seems unlikely, however, given the revelations in May from WMAZ that Coody, prior to winning the 2016 election to be Bleckley County sheriff, had been terminated from the Georgia State Patrol in 2007 for misconduct -- he was investigated for an alleged domestic violence incident and allegedly obstructed that probe, in addition to other complaints about his conduct -- but managed to have that detrimental information sealed from his record in a settlement.

Victim recalls incident, accuses governor of cover-up

As for Hatchett, The Messenger reported that she held a press conference following Coody's guilty plea and resignation and said of the 2022 incident, "He squeezed it. He then started rubbing on my breast until [another sheriff] literally had to take his hand off of me and push him off."

"I never expected that I would be so deeply affected by this. I've never been the victim. I've been the advocate," she continued as she further revealed that Coody's attorney had previously asked her to drop the charges she had immediately filed after the incident if Coody had apologized to her.

Hatchett, who is an Atlanta-based celebrity attorney who stars in two reality shows -- "Judge Hatchett" and "The Verdict With Judge Hatchett" -- also had harsh words for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom she seemed to accuse of at least initially working with Coody to cover up his crime and allow him to continue serving in his elected position as sheriff.

"The governor did nothing," Hatchett said and speculated that Coody had been spared in order to retain his pension. "Had he taken the plea and been on the record as being guilty of this sexual assault, he would have forfeited it under state law. And so I think that this was carefully orchestrated."

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