ANDERSON — State Law Enforcement Division agents have arrested an Oconee County sheriff’s candidate and charged him with plotting to kidnap a retired judge.

A warrant states that James Bartee solicited someone to abduct retired Circuit Judge James C. Williams Jr. to prevent him from appearing at a hearing in Anderson.

The warrant says evidence was obtained by audio recording.

Bartee is a 54-year-old retired U.S. Secret Service agent. He was arrested in Anderson where Circuit Judge Cordell Maddox was holding a hearing on an action. Williams had questioned Bartee’s eligibility to run for sheriff.

Williams contends Bartee should be removed from the June 12 primary ballot because he is not certified as a law enforcement officer in South Carolina.

Bartee was released on bail and told reporters he is innocent.