Deputy Ask for Public Defender in Corruption Case

Joe Russell, a sheriff’s office administrator who faces federal charges, asked for a public defender despite obtaining a permit to build a $598,684 home.

Russell paid a $1,858 fee on May 6 for a permit to build a 4,405-square-foot home with an unfinished 3,128-square-foot basement at 8800 Rhodes Lane in the Pleasant View subdivision in Rutherford County’s rural Lascassas community northeast of Murfreesboro, the county’s Building Codes records show.

Russell, Sheriff Robert Arnold and Arnold’s uncle, John Vanderveer, face a 14-count indictment pertaining to profiting from the sale of electronic cigarettes to inmates. They were in handcuffs as they entered U.S. Magistrate Judge John Bryant’s courtroom in Nashville Friday.

The year before, the three also faced FBI raids.

Russell applied for a public defender to represent him in federal court Friday. Although he appeared in court with Murfreesboro attorney Tommy Santel, Russell told the judge his arrangement with the private lawyer does not extend to the trial.

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