TUPELO • All the criminal charges against a former Lee County deputy sheriff accused of falsifying time cards and threatening the sheriff have been dropped.

The motions to abandon the prosecution of Mike Mayhew were actually filed weeks ago. Senior Circuit Clerk Paul Funderburk signed the nolle prosequi motions Tuesday, dismissing the indictments. Since the charges were dismissed with prejudice, cases are closed and the state cannot bring up the same charges again.

According to Mayhew's lawyer Victor Fleitas, exculpatory evidence and the investigation into why key evidence, including Mayhew's statement to a former investigator, was left out of the defense file, led new Attorney General Lynn Fitch's office to rule the case "lacked prosecutable merit."

Fleitas said the charges were a "purely personal and political prosecution" by Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson to protect his own standing.

Mayhew, 46, of Plantersville, worked for the Lee County Sheriff's Office for about a decade. He rose to the position of patrol supervisor but was forced to resign from the sheriff's office after he was charged with three counts of submitting false documents in early 2017. The exact amount of the fraud was never listed, but Johnson has said the total was several thousand dollars.

The second charges came last summer when Mayhew allegedly told another former deputy to tell Johnson that "he has an a-- whipping coming." The state considered it a threat and filed charges. Mayhew viewed as Constitutionally protected free speech.

william.moore@journalinc.com

Twitter:@WilliamMoore_DJ

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