In his first response to being indicted by a federal grand jury, Frederick County Sheriff Charles “Chuck” Jenkins denied having “any financial incentive or fraudulent intent” when he helped a gun dealer obtain machine guns to rent out to the public.

“Sheriff Jenkins’ entire role in this alleged conspiracy, was to sign the letters put before him,” his attorneys wrote in a new court filing.

Jenkins’ attorneys made the claims in a new filing in which they seek to have him tried separately from gun dealer Robert Krop, who owns a business called the Machine Gun Nest.

“At worst, Sheriff Jenkins was duped by Krop into providing these demonstration letters, without ever knowing or having reason to know that Krop’s motive was to gain financially from TMGN’s special permission to possess and to import, even to obtain, these weapons,” they wrote.

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Krop’s attorney, meanwhile, filed a scathing, 107-page motion making a wide variety of allegations, including calling the prosecution politically motivated and questioning the Ukrainian background of the lead ATF agent on the case.

“If [the agent] has not denounced his Ukrainian citizenship the warrant must be immediately quashed and the indictment dismissed,” wrote Krop’s attorney, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox.

Cox’s motion also defends Jenkins, calling him “one of the nation’s most upstanding and outspoken ... who regularly and professionally appears on television opposing certain misguided and failed policies of the Biden administration.”

Jenkins, a Republican who was elected to his fifth term last fall, announced he was taking a leave of absence after pleading not guilty to the charges in April.

Federal prosecutors say Jenkins signed the letters for Krop, saying that the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office wanted to see a demonstration of the guns, which was false.

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Jenkins’ attorneys say they’ve reviewed discovery material showing Krop received hundreds of thousands of dollars. But Jenkins, they say, “never received anything of value for his supposed role in this conspiracy — not money, rentals, use of the gun range, political contributions, or anything else of value.”

The discovery further shows that Jenkins was never notified when or if any of the machine guns were obtained by Krop.

And they say Jenkins “reasonably assumed that ATF would analyze these applications and letters ... at the very least for sufficiency, and would conduct an investigation of Krop and [the range] at any time if warranted.”

Krop emailed draft letters to Jenkins’ secretary to put on sheriff’s office letterhead. Jenkins approved other demonstration letters for other Frederick County firearms licensees.

“Nothing of value was ever transmitted or received by Sheriff Jenkins from any of these FFLs [Federal Firearms License applications],” the attorneys said.

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The attorneys say a joint trial of Jenkins and Krop would be “profoundly unfair.”

Krop’s attorney, meanwhile, says the investigation is part of a “political scheme to undermine federal law.”

“Should the Biden administration’s vindictive prosecution of Mr. Krop and/or Sheriff Jenkins result in shuttering the primary firearms business in Frederick, MD or the Sheriff’s resignation or removal from office, it well knows that a chill over the exercise of the Second Amendment rights will be felt,” Cox wrote.

“And, it knows that the Democrat Governor of Maryland will have the constitutional authority to appoint the interim sheriff, thereby giving the Democrat Biden Administration pretenses through its prosecution to do what the socialist far Left of the Democrat Party and the ACLU have always sought in Frederick — removal of the Sheriff, ending the 287(g) program with ICE which would allow open borders for cartel slave trafficking activity, and greatly limiting the FCSO’s [Frederick County Sheriff’s Office’s] constitutional authority...”

It claims Krop’s business, The Machine Gun Nest, has a membership of more than 380 law enforcement and military members who demonstrate its machine guns, and that people who have taken part in such demonstrations include a U.S. Senator, elected officials, Secret Service members and other government, military and law enforcement members.

Justin Fenton is an investigative reporter for the Baltimore Banner. He previously spent 17 years at the Baltimore Sun, covering the criminal justice system. His book, "We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption," was released by Random House in 2021 and became an HBO miniseries.

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