HOT SPRING COUNTY, Ark. – The Hot Spring County Sheriff was officially charged with obstruction of justice in federal court Friday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after he was arrested by federal agents.
Scott Finkbeiner is out of jail after posting bond. The charges were initially sealed but KARK 4 News got a closer look at what he’s being accused of on Friday.
“I had no idea,” Hot Spring County resident Clay Walker said. “I thought the guy was pretty straight guy.”
After federal agents arrested Finkbeiner, many people in the community were shocked to hear the news.
“I would’ve never expected to hear that, but you know this is Malvern so anything’s possible,” Walker said.
Friday afternoon, Finkbeiner was charged with a single count of obstruction of justice tied to FBI surveillance of a house in Hot Spring County in August.
According to the affidavit, agents claimed Finkbeiner told authorities he had a confidential informant on a street where the FBI was investigating a possible drug house, and that their investigation was interfering with his own investigation.
The sheriff reportedly told agents that the informant was not listed anywhere since he was not used for controlled drug buys.
“I mean I like to think it’s not true,” Walker said. “I have met the guy and he seems like a pretty straightforward, good guy.”
“Obviously having a sheriff under a federal indictment is not a good thing,” Hot Spring County Justice of the Peace for District 8 Andrew Daily said.
In court, federal prosecutor Bryan Achorn asked that Finkbeiner not be released on bond, saying Finkbeiner was a “serious risk” due to his position as a sheriff. Finkbeiner was released on a $5,000 bond.
Quorum court member Andrew Daily said as of right now, nothing has changed when it comes to him still holding the title.
“I know there were some restrictions placed on him as his bond so that is going to have an impact on him obviously being able to do his job because technically, he still is the sheriff,” Daily said.
The conditions of Finkbeiner’s $5,000 bond include no possession of guns or other weapons and the requirement to report any contact with a law enforcement officer, which Ford said would need to be tailored to the sheriff’s circumstances.
Finkbeiner will also have to be evaluated for substance abuse and must participate in a substance abuse program as part of his release.