The daughter of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has been accused of interfering with the police investigation into a shooting that wounded seven people outside a nightclub in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in her father's jurisdiction.
A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of 29-year-old Michelle Hodgson, who was arraigned on a witness intimidation charge Tuesday.
"I think it's very unfair," said defense attorney Scott DeMello. "This is about her, this is not about the sheriff."
Thomas Hodgson is defending his daughter, telling NECN her behavior was prompted by the actions of an officer that she deemed inappropriate.
"I feel completely confident that the court will exonerate her," he said.
Four men and three women were shot early Saturday morning outside Jalice Cafe. New Bedford Police say Michelle Hodgson was outside the cafe with another woman after the shooting.
Officer Ronald Guerin reported that one of the women kicked a blood-soaked boot belonging to one of the victims. Prosecutor Bill Connolly later told NECN that the unidentified woman with Michelle Hodgson is not accused kicking the boot.
Guerin says he told the women they were disturbing evidence in a crime scene.
In the police report, Guerin wrote that Michelle Hodgson asked, "Do you know that my father's the sheriff?"
"She then asked me for my badge number. She then informed me that she would have my job," Guerin explained in the report.
"Michelle did nothing wrong that night," said DeMello. "She's very confident that once the facts come out, that she'll be completely exonerated. And we're not going to try it in the press, but we do want things to play out, but she will be completely exonerated."
Police believe the incident began when one man walked outside the nightclub, found a drink on his vehicle and slapped it away, hitting another patron with it.
According to authorities, this led to people shoving each other and shots being fired.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, but all seven shooting victims were treated at area hospitals.
Thomas Hodgson recently led a delegation of sheriffs to the U.S.-Mexico border in opposition to the nation's handling of immigration.