DOVER, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire sheriff accused of stealing county funds and lying to a grand jury has agreed to be put on paid administrative leave.

Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave was charged Thursday with eight felonies including perjury and theft of about $19,000. County commissioners planned to draft a petition for his removal if he didn’t accept their offer of a paid leave of absence by Tuesday. In a social media post Monday night, Brave said he had made the “difficult decision” to take leave from Strafford County Sheriff’s Office.

“While I maintain that I am innocent, and none of my spending of out of state line items was due to deceive the county or the people of Strafford County, I do want to make sure that the wonderful team at SCSO is able to function without added stressors to their already difficult positions,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The charges allege that Brave used his county credit card to pay for travel to fictitious business meetings with multiple paramours and then lied about it to a grand jury.

Brave, a Democrat elected in 2020 as New Hampshire’s first Black sheriff, has called the allegations politically and racially motivated. Commissioners have denied his claims.

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