MACHIAS (AP) – A judge ordered a Washington County sheriff’s deputy to pay $100 after being convicted of attempted criminal mischief for tossing an opponent’s campaign sign into the Narraguagus River.

The incident happened last June, 10 days after Deputy Jeffrey Bishop lost a three-way race for the Republican nomination for sheriff. Rodney Merritt of East Machias won the primary election but lost on the November ballot.

Bishop’s conviction and sentence came on Wednesday, a day after a Perry Mason-style moment when Merritt produced the sign, which he’d retrieved from the river.

Bishop, who admitted tossing the campaign sign, was suspended after the incident but was later reinstated with back pay.

Defense lawyer Donald Brown said his client was pleased with the jury’s verdict because it was important that Bishop retain his certification as a police officer. In Maine, police officers can still serve with a misdemeanor conviction.

“There are quite a number of them in the state of Maine convicted of Class D crimes. This is a Class E crime,” Brown said.

AP-ES-06-01-07 1440EDT

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