Theft charge retrial begins for former sheriff

ERWIN, Tenn. (AP) -- Jury selection is under way for the retrial of former Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris.

The Johnson City Press reported the trial began Monday in Unicoi County Criminal Court in Erwin.

A jury at Harris' first trial on a charge of theft was unable to reach a verdict, and a mistrial was declared Aug 2. While Harris was initially scheduled for trial Monday on an official misconduct charge, District Attorney General Tony Clark moved to use the date to retry the theft charge.

A grand jury indicted Harris on 10 felony charges in October 2011.

In the theft case, prosecutors say Harris received $4,500 in county funds to pay for two vehicles that had been donated to the sheriff's department.

Harris has maintained he is innocent.

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