Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill demanded that his 2008 campaign manager, Naomi Nash, take back the computer she had given her 16-year-old daughter as a birthday gift, Nash testified Friday. She had bought it with money she earned running his campaign, and after she returned it Hill kept most of the refund for the computer, Nash said.
Nash, who now lives in Florida, testified that in the end she only got to keep $800 of the $15,000 Hill gave her on Aug. 14, 2008.
Nash is one of the two women who took trips with Hill after he lost the Democratic primary runoff in August 2008. She is the witness Hill is accused of influencing before she testified to a special-purpose grand jury investigating allegations that he had used his office for personal gain.
Testimony began Thursday in the racketeering case against Hill, who was elected last year despite pending felony charges. He is accused in 28 counts of racketeering, theft by taking, violating his oath of office and influencing a witness. Some of the theft charges allege that he used county-issued cars and credit cards for trips out of state after he lost his re-election bid in 2008.
Nash is also one of the two women who went with him to South Florida and on gambling trips to Biloxi, Miss., and to the South Carolina coast, events detailed in some of the theft charges.
Nash was jailed for four days in 2011 when she refused to answer questions from the grand jury investigating Hill. While she was in jail, Hill paid a lawyer $500 to visit her at the jail and to tell her to testify, she said. He used a passage from a book Nash liked to let her know that Hill had sent him but never specifically named the sheriff as her benefactor, Nash testified.
Nash, once a clerk at the Sheriff’s Office, ran his campaign from the spring of 2008 until he lost the election the following August. He gave her $15,000 on Aug. 14, 2008, for her work, but she said she immediately used $5,000 of it to pay the deposit and first and last months’ rent on a Florida apartment that was in Hill’s name.
Less than three weeks later, Nash used some of her pay to buy her daughter a birthday gift: an Apple Macbook Pro, a warranty and accessories.
But Hill “had a strong opinion that I had spent too much money on the laptop and should have bought something he considered more reasonable,” Nash testified. “He requested that I get it back and get something more reasonable.”
She said Hill drove her to get the computer from her daughter at the girl’s father’s house and then to return it to Best Buy. The refund for the laptop and the warranty was mailed to Hill and Nash kept the money for the returned accessories, according to testimony.