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Ex-Plant City detective acquitted of lying sues accuser

TAMPA — A former Plant City police officer who was acquitted on a charge of lying to a grand jury has sued his accuser for damaging his police career.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Hillsborough Circuit Court, James Edgar Jackson alleges that his former colleague, Robert David Dixon, falsely implicated him in a corruption case in an effort to reduce his sentence.

Both men were detectives in 1998 when the Plant City Police Department was investigated in a corruption probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Dixon was convicted of conspiracy charges.

The suit claims Dixon was asked to give names of corrupt officers, and he named Jackson.

According to Jackson's lawyer, John Goldsmith, Dixon told federal investigators that Jackson asked that charges be dropped in a case involving the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors for a corrupt reason — because Dixon was a friend of the shop owner.

"It was basically an out-and-out lie," Goldsmith said.

Jackson maintains he did this for valid professional reasons after Dixon told him the person was a confidential informer.

A judge dismissed the charges in 2005.

Federal authorities brought perjury charges against Jackson, saying he lied to a grand jury about the incident. He resigned from Plant City and worked as a security manager for a Target store. "He he took a significant pay cut," Goldsmith said.

Jackson was acquitted and has become a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Jackson's suit claims that Dixon implicated him out of "malice." He is seeking lost wages and legal fees as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

Dixon could not be reached for comment.

Ex-Plant City detective acquitted of lying sues accuser 08/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2008 8:28pm]

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