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$1.6M ruling goes against Richland County sheriff

LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) — A Lexington County jury has awarded a woman $1.6 million after she sued Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott over her investigation and arrest in an estate dispute three years ago.

The (Columbia) State newspaper reports lawyers for attorney Kay Paschal argued she was hounded by deputies before her arrest and was strip searched and tossed in jail before a judge dismissed forgery and breach of trust charges.

Paschal’s lawyers say she was a caretaker and common-law wife of Columbia businessman David Wallace, whose $6 million estate was challenged after he died. The charges against Paschal stemmed from a $63,000 van bought after Wallace suffered a stroke.

Lott says he stands behind his deputies and plans to appeal. He says he also will keep pursuing a criminal case against Paschal.

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