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EXCLUSIVE: Man Accused of Faking Injuries to Get out of Jail Speaks Out - Eric Alvarez

Stream Fox 17 newscasts LIVE starting with Fox 17 This Morning at 5 am and News at 9 pm.

COLUMBIA, Tenn---The Columbia man police accused of faking disability to get out of jail is firing back, through an exclusive interview with Fox 17 News.
 
Nathan Donovan left the Maury County Jail in a wheelchair, but was escorted back in on foot after surveillance video caught him walking earlier this week.

Behind the closed doors of the Maury County Jail, Donovan insists he did not fake his injuries.

It's not the public that I need to prove my innocence to, it's just awareness on transverse myelitis, Donovan said.

That's the condition Donovan says put him in a wheelchair, while he was starting a six-year sentence for burglary.

The CDC says the disease can cause both permanent and temporary paralysis.

Federal law prohibits us from seeing Donovans medical records. but he says there's no way to fake the condition.

I don't know how you would possibly fool an MRI and make scarred tissue appear on your spine, Donovan said.  I don't think that's possible.

Donovan left the jail on a medical furlough.  Now, he's back inside, after Columbia police released surveillance video that shows him walking unassisted.

Donovan says he was only able to walk after months of physical therapy.

"It was hell for about three months, Donovan said.

Donovan is expected to stay behind bars until a hearing in early November that will decide his custody future.

In the meantime, the sheriff's department says this entire process has put a tremendous strain on the system.

We spent quite a bit of money on this individual, said Jimmy Tennyson, captain with the sheriff's department

Tennyson says there's no real way to know how severe Donovans injuries were or when he got better, but says the county's expense is very real.

It drains anybody's budget, Tennyson said.  "We haven't tallied that up yet but it's a considerable amount of money."

The Columbia Daily Herald reports Tennysons boss, sheriff Enoch George said Donovan flimflammed the sheriffs department.

Donovan says it was all that money that got him released in the first place.

They can say what they want to say and think I scammed them out of some money but no, they kicked me out of the jail because they didn't want to pay that medical bills no more, Donovan said.

Donovan is scheduled to appear in court in two weeks.  The sheriff's department says a judge could decide to re-tract his furlough, which could keep him in jail for the rest of his sentence.