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Williamson County commissioners take step toward suing Sheriff Chody over 'Live PD'

The commissioners say Sheriff Robert Chody gave the show permissions he did not have the authority to give.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — Williamson County commissioners looked poised to sue Sheriff Robert Chody on Tuesday, after a vote to hire lawyers in a potential lawsuit over a contract he signed for TV show "Live PD."

The Williamson County Commissioners Court last month voted 4-0 to send a cease-and-desist letter to "Live PD" and its affiliates after the Williamson County Sheriff's Office allowed a crew member to join a lieutenant in a patrol vehicle to film for the program.

This comes after the commissioners voted in August to terminate the show's contract with the county. During Tuesday's conference call, commissioners said by doing so, Chody exposed Williamson County to millions of dollars in liability and strictly went against their earlier vote.

The commissioners said the sheriff personally signed an access agreement, which was similar to the one terminated by the commissioners, that allowed the filming to restart, even though they said he does not have that authority.

RELATED: Williamson County sheriff's deputies back on 'Live PD', sheriff says

According to our partners at The Austin American-Statesman, Chody has hired attorney Eric Taube to represent him in the possible suit.

“While the sheriff would have preferred to resolve this issue with the commissioners with civil discussion and dialogue, it appears that the commissioners would rather attempt to go down a different path,” Taube told The Statesman. “The sheriff is happy to resolve this issue based upon the law and not on politics, and will look forward to continue to exercise his discretion as a law enforcement officer to serve the citizens of Williamson County as he believes most effective.”

According to The Statesman, general council for Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs, Jason Nassour, told commissioners on Friday while they have the power to determine the sheriff’s budget, they cannot micromanage how an official uses those allocated resources.

He said the court had attempted to assert control on the premise the access agreement is a contract, but the sheriff is merely allowing representatives from the show’s production into areas under his control.

The new, one-year agreement went into effect in early March. It grants producers and production personnel permission to enter and film at the sheriff's office and in its patrol cars and other facilities.

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