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Lawmakers prepare to sue Franklin County Sheriff for records in impeachment investigation

A man in a blue shirt and jacket stands for the camera
Wilson Ring
Associated Press
The House impeachment committee authorized additional funds in case investigators need to compel Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore to release documents. Grismore said in an interview he plans to fully comply with the subpoena.

Impeachment investigators may sue Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore to force him to turn over documents. The legislative committee leading the inquiry authorized additional funds on Monday in case the special counsel needs to go to court.

The House impeachment committee hired Burlington based law-firm Downs Rachlin Martin to investigate Grismore’s alleged misconduct. DRM attorney Timothy Doherty told the committee that they issued a subpoena several weeks ago and that Grismore indicated he’d cooperate, but gave no timeline.

More from Vermont Public: Vt. House lawmakers begin impeachment process for Franklin County sheriff and state's attorney

“Declarations that subpoenas will be responded to without a timeframe is not the normal order of business,” Doherty said during the committee’s meeting. “We've proposed that we engage with the sheriff, hopefully be able to move toward a timeframe that's acceptable to everyone, but that we also have to be prepared to seek enforcement of the subpoena.”

The committee initially approved $75,000 for Downs Rachlin Martin to investigate Grismore, and on Monday authorized an additional $12,000 if the firm needs to go to court to enforce the subpoena.

Grismore, in a phone interview, said he intends to fully comply with the subpoena. But he said he wants to retain an attorney, and that it’ll take weeks to produce the documents.

“I think once people are aware of what it is, they're going to be like ‘what the hell, it's enormous,’ he said on Tuesday. “It's like every financial record dating back to January 1, 2021 — like every document we have, emails, everything.”

Lawmakers launched the impeachment inquiry in May after months of consideration. Grismore was elected sheriff in November after being fired from the department earlier in the year. Video footage released in August 2022 showed him kicking a handcuffed and shackled man at the department. He was charged with simple assault and that case is still pending.

State police are also investigating financial issues at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

More from Vermont Public: Candidate facing assault charge wins Franklin County sheriff race

Grismore also faces possible sanctions from the Vermont Criminal Justice Council, which regulates law enforcement certifications. The council will hold a hearing next month to determine whether Grismore should keep his law enforcement credentials.

But even if the council does strip Grismore of his law enforcement certification he can remain sheriff, since it is an elected position.

And Grismore said he wouldn’t resign.

“I’m not saying it's not going to hinder my abilities,” he said. “I'm just saying it's not going to prevent me from being the sheriff.”

The House impeachment committee is also considering removing Franklin County state’s attorney John Lavoie from office. Lavoie faces an inquiry after an internal investigation found an alleged pattern of “harassment and discriminatory conduct.”

Questions, comments or tips? Send me an email at


Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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