The 2018 criminal extortion case against Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd ended late last year with a whimper and not a bang.
The order to dismiss a criminal extortion charge against Boyd was filed Dec. 20 and signed by 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Andrew Freiberg, according to court records. It occurred more than a year after a mistrial was declared in the case after a jury deadlocked.
The quiet end was in contrast to the furious beginning in April 2018, when the District 8 commissioner was indicted and accused of threatening his then re-election Republican primary opponent Brent Lambert.
Lambert, then the mayor of East Ridge, said Boyd threatened him with the potential release of information about campaign contributions.
He referred to the commissioner as a "backroom bully" and said he "had no recourse" because of "threats that were made against me, my family, my professional career and political career."
Boyd said he never threatened Lambert but advised him to leave the race to save himself from embarrassment, which he said were contributions to the Lambert campaign from developers just days before the East Ridge council approved more than $4 million in bonds for the developers' project.
He said Lambert recorded phone calls on the issue between them to "set him up." Lambert later played the tapes at a news conference.
Boyd went on to win the primary election with 67 percent of the vote and had no Democratic opponent in the August general election.
At the trial, Frieberg said he did not find all the necessary elements of extortion in evidence against Boyd but allowed the case to go to the jury, where eight jurors eventually voted guilty and four not guilty on an attempted extortion charge before becoming deadlocked. The judge said a retrial could occur in early 2019, but it did not.
In the long run, we tend to believe the commissioner was only giving Lambert good advice when he discussed the campaign contributions. Lambert was not putting up much of a campaign, and the campaign contributions eventually would be public record. Sure, the commissioner wanted to win without Lambert's presence in the race, but we don't believe he meant anyone harm.
The matter is finally where it should have been from the start — laid to rest.