COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46)- It was the fall of 2017 when Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren inserted himself in the First Amendment battle embroiling Kennesaw State University.

Now it appears, taxpayers are paying the price.

Five cheerleaders took a knee in protest back then. They were then benched by the school's then-president.

Sam Olens appeared to be pressured to do so by the politically powerful Warren and others, in text messages we obtained. One of those cheerleaders sued; naming Warren in the suit.

A judge dismissed him from the suit Thursday.

But not before county attorneys spent time and money fighting it. Taxpayers and observers are now questioning the use of those resources.   

"The Sheriff's job is to serve and protect--not waste and abuse," said government watchdog William Perry.

We spent the day pressing Cobb County for answers. They told CBS46, 161 hours, or about a weeks worth of legal time was spent defending the Sheriff.

And the county justifies it, saying, in the complaint, Warren is identified as the sheriff.

Regardless if the reason for the suit had nothing to do with his official duties.

The sheriff, refusing our request for an interview Thursday, sent a statement saying in part,

"Everyone as an American citizen does have the right to protest for what they believe in, but, we also have the right to disagree and stand-up for what we believe in."

Sheriff Warren also expressed his "sincere appreciation for the excellent work" done by the county attorney.

Again; for which you and I are paying for.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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