The Winston-Salem Journal reports Forsyth County commissioners unanimously voted to settle a lawsuit by a former deputy claiming that Sheriff Bill Schatzman violated federal law by firing him:

As part of the settlement, Schatzman and Forsyth County officials do not admit any wrongdoing in the termination of former Sgt. Michael T. Russell. The U.S. Department of Justice filed the lawsuit June 7 in U.S. District Court on behalf of Russell. The lawsuit alleged that Schatzman fired Russell in November 2010 after Russell bought $100 tickets in a motorcycle rifle organized by Dave Griffith, who was running against Schatzman for sheriff. Russell said he just wanted to win the motorcycle and was never told buying the tickets would get him fired.

The county will pay Russell $96,000. The suit had been scheduled to go to trial in Greensboro Oct. 1.