The years-long mess spilled out on Thursday when the 55-year-old was charged with third-degree felony evidence tampering, and three misdemeanor counts of making false reports to law enforcement, News4Jax reported.
In May of 2019, Daniels himself called police claiming a stalker was following him in his car, and demanded she be arrested.
The woman was Jacksonville Sheriff's Office corrections Cierra Smith, with whom Daniels had been having an affair since 2012 -- it began when he was her superior at Jacksonville and continued after he was elected Sheriff of Clay County -- the State Attorney's Office claimed at the time.
When Daniels finally told his wife about the affair, she contacted the JSO officer and threatened to kill her; a police report was filed.
On May 6, the night the charges relate to, Sheriff Daniels was at a community event when Smith showed up. He left, and she began following him; Daniels contacted his wife to tell her, so she began following Smith.
As all three drove, Daniels called in a suspicious vehicle following him. When officers arrived, Daniels ordered them to arrest Smith for stalking, and she was placed in handcuffs. But his colleagues felt uncomfortable with the situation, claiming their wasn't probable cause, the State Attorney said, and Smith was not taken to jail.
She told officers that she was pregnant, but would not say if Daniels was the father.
A JSO internal affairs investigation found that Smith was accused of having sex with Daniels on the job.
Smith's now-ex husband Larry told News4Jax at the time Daniels -- whom he had regarded as a "mentor" and "uncle-like figure" who "gave me advice when it came to marriage, how to raise a family" -- had paid his ex thousands of dollars of hush money not to speak about the affair.
In a video statement on Thursday, Daniels said his failures as a husband should not reflect on his standing as a Sheriff.
"One thing I take ownership of as a man is my failures as a husband. That has nothing to do with me as a sheriff," he said.
"The things that I've done in my personal life, some of those things were wrong; and some things, most recently, were very wrong. But my job as the Sheriff is a different thing."
Sheriff Daniels also questioned the timing of the ultimatum.
"You know, over a year ago, I was the subject of an investigation. And that took nearly a year and a half, nearly a year and a half," he began his statement. "And over the course of time, I've continued to fight for the Sheriff's Office and the folks who live in this community."
"But one thing that's very suspicious to me is the fact that within days of a primary election, the powers that be, specifically the State Attorney's Office has decided that today is the day that they will execute their plan and interfere with what’s going on with the sheriff. With me."
"Today is the day that they chose to essentially charge me with things that are such that... it's baffling to me because it takes a stretching of the imagination to understand personally knowing that I'm innocent."
The Sheriff claimed there was "dirty politics" afoot, as he read the long list of terms and conditions of his stepping out of the race — which he is refusing to do.
"Listen, there's been folks who've tried to bully me in my life, and that's one thing I've never tolerated," he said.
"The question that I want you to ask yourself, and I don’t have the answer to it, is this: Why today? Why couldn't it wait? Unless there was some ulterior motive behind the decisions to impact a political race."
Daniels hit headlines last month when he threatened to deputize every gun-owner in the county to combat "lawless" BLM protesters.