The legal entanglements between former Oconee Sheriff’s candidate James Bartee and his accuser, Nicholas Blackwell, intensified this month with Blackwell’s filing of a civil counterclaim against Bartee . . . and Bartee’s official reply to the counterclaim. The latest filings in the Common Pleas Court arise from a January lawsuit by Bartee, alleging Blackwell set him up, leading to Bartee’s arrest last year on the criminal charge of solicitation to commit a felony. In Blackwell’s counterclaim, by Greenville attorney Ryan Beasley, Blackwell denies Bartee’s allegations of a set-up and the claim that, by working on behalf of law enforcement, Blackwell sought to isolate him from an Oconee Sheriff’s Department investigation of him as a potential suspect in a homicide case. The civil court filings come at a time, 96.3/WGOG NEWS has learned, that a circuit judge has been sent written arguments on recent motions made by Bartee’s lawyer in the criminal case which alleges that Bartee solicited Blackwell to kidnap a retired judge. According to Blackwell’s counterclaim, Bartee had sought to blame the alleged plot to kidnap retired Judge Jimmy Williams on Jerry Edwards, the Journal publisher whom Bartee criticized during last year’s campaign for Sheriff. Williams had gone to court to declare Bartee unqualified to seek the office of Sheriff. After his arrest, Bartee abandoned his campaign.