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Former Jefferson County sheriff makes public apology

Former Jefferson County Sheriff Blair Olsen was sentenced Monday for misusing public funds.

Olsen, who was convicted on three felony counts in May due to his wife using a county cell phone, was sentenced to 30 days each for two of those counts and 15 days in jail for the third count. That adds up to a total of 75 days that Olsen must serve concurrently.

That means, after the first 15 days, Olsen will have the option of completing his sentence with community service. If he performs 120 hours of community service within 60 days, he will only spend those initial 15 days in jail.

“I’ve failed by using poor judgment, and I’m sorry.” — Blair Olsen

He must also pay a $2,500 fine and $1,023 in restitution.

Judge Greg Moeller also issued a withheld judgment, which means after three years of probation — if Olsen behaves — he will get his civil rights back.

He had already forfeited his office due to his conviction.

There is no word on where Olsen will serve his jail time, but we do know it will be local.

“The real loss in these cases is to the erosion of trust and faith citizens have in their government.” — Attorney General Lawrence Wasden

At the sentencing, Olsen publicly apologized to the people of Jefferson County.

“I understand that being sheriff — a public official — that I am expected to hold myself to a higher standard,” he said. “I honestly feel that I’ve tried to do that. In this case, I’ve failed by using poor judgment, and I’m sorry.”

The case was investigated by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office at the request of the Jefferson County Commission and Jefferson County Prosecutor Robin Dunn.

In a statement, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said his office takes these cases seriously.

“Public corruption cases are serious for the simple fact that the offender holds a position of public trust and authority, and then takes advantage of that position,” Wasden said. “This remains true if the crime results in the loss of even the smallest amount of public funds. But the real loss in these cases is to the erosion of trust and faith citizens have in their government. Tackling public corruption is essential to restoring that trust and faith citizens must have in their government and those elected to lead it.”

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