Elaine Lovett: 'Family ready to go to court' - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Elaine Lovett: 'Family ready to go to court'

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Former SCMPD Police Chief Willie Lovett was indicted in federal court on Thursday, being accused of extorting bribes and taking cash in exchange for giving an illegal gambling operation police protection.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on $30,000 bond.

Lovett's wife, Elaine, said he and the family are ready to go to court, and they are confident that his reputation will be redeemed there.

Elaine Lovett said her husband's dream job of becoming police chief has ended up in a nightmare. She said her husband is innocent under the law until proven guilty, and said it doesn't make sense for him to risk his career on a gambling operation at a small pop-up carnival.

Federal investigators said a traveling fair brought more than cotton candy and tilt-a-whirls to town. They said it brought illegal gambling, coming to Savannah on holidays like St. Patrick's Day and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

Three other men were indicted with Lovett: Kenny Blount, Randall Wayne Roach, Sr. and Randall Wayne Roach, Jr.

Blount and Roach, Sr. ran Magic Midway Fair, while Roach, Jr. worked there. The father and son were arrested one month ago and were taken to the Chatham County Jail on a federal court hold.

Roach, Sr. was released, but his son remains behind bars. It is unclear whether Blount has been arrested, and prosecutors haven't said yet whether these minor players in the indictment are cooperating with investigators.

Court documents filed last week and unsealed on Thursday show one of those defendants has reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Prosecutors said in court they have a wealth of evidence, including video and audio surveillance. The volume of evidence is so large that the judge has extended the time for attorneys to file pre-trial motions to more than a month.

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