- Associated Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - An Amish farmer in Kentucky was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for mislabeling his homemade herbal products, including a product that federal officials said was dangerous to the skin.

Samuel Girod was sentenced in Lexington federal court to 72 months on charges of making misbranded products, impeding an investigation and witness tampering. Girod, 57, was found guilty by a jury in March.

Court records say Girod manufactured salves and herbal products, including one he touted as a cure for skin cancer. Another product used an extract from bloodroot that officials said is corrosive to the skin.

Prosecutors said Girod defied court orders to stop selling the products and barred Food and Drug Administration officials in 2013 from inspecting his facility in Bath County.

Carlton S. Shier, acting U.S. attorney for the eastern half of Kentucky, said in a release that Girod “brazenly placed the public at risk, openly hampered law enforcement, and intentionally impeded the judicial process.”

But friends and even the sheriff of Bath County defended Girod, saying the prosecution of the Amish farmer went overboard. In a letter to the court in September, Sheriff John Snedegar asked why the FDA is “attacking and victimizing such peaceful and law-abiding Americans.” Snedegar said he would speak with Girod about changing his labeling and signage but wrote that he “would not stand by while the rights of peaceful people are violated.”

A petition in support of Girod attracted more than 27,000 signatures and some supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse before his sentencing Friday. Supporters have argued throughout the case that Girod’s small operation was being wrongly targeted for selling homemade products.

Girod was ordered in 2013 by a judge in Missouri to stop selling his products until his labeling and advertisement met federal rules. But Girod defied that order, according to the release, continuing to sell them in Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Along with the sentence, Girod was also ordered by U.S District Judge Danny Reeves to pay $14,239 in restitution to customers.

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