Suspended Montana sheriff to appear on felony charges

    Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson

    Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson is due in court Thursday. He is accused of evidence tampering last month after an evidence bag of drugs went missing.

    County commissioners voted to suspend Thompson indefinitely with three months of pay and benefits after state investigators filed charges against him.

    County officials say they've been handling business as usual.

    "In a normal situation if the sheriff is out of town for various reasons, whether it's personal or otherwise, the sheriff's responsibility falls to the undersheriff," said Madison County Commissioner Jim Hart. "That's how we are conducting business right now."

    Undersheriff Phil Fortner took over as acting sheriff in Thompson's absence.

    Thompson was charged with official misconduct, tampering with evidence and perjury, which are felonies.

    Thompson's appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Justice Court in Helena.

    Thompson issued a statement saying he is innocent.

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