Attorneydiction.com – Federal prosecutors in Tennessee said FBI agents had searched the homes and offices of several state legislators.
US Attorney’s Office spokesman David Boling confirmed that Friday’s search included the homes of former GOP House Speaker Glen Casada and State Representative Robin Smith.
Boling declined to provide further information on the nature of the search and how many members of parliament were involved.
An FBI spokesperson referred all inquiries to the United States Attorney’s Office.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee explained to reporters that he had spoken with current House Speaker Cameron Sexton about the search and described it as an “FBI raid.”
“This, of course, is very concerning. I know very little about it. There was no FBI outreach for us,” Lee said. “But I’m sure President Sexton is aware of the situation and we’ll learn more soon as let it unfold. “
Sexton later explained to reporters that he was “cooperating fully” with law enforcement authorities, adding that he had been briefed on the ongoing investigation by several lawmakers since he assumed the senior leadership position in mid-2019. He declined to provide details on the nature of the investigation. .
“I think today is a sad day for Tennessee and the General Assembly,” Sexton said. “As we move forward, friends and colleagues, I am not going to sit here and hypothesize about what is based on past actions or not. I am here just talking about today’s actions and how we have worked together and asked colleagues work and our other members to do the same. “
The Speaker of the House later explained that no ethical investigation had been launched against members of Parliament whose offices had been raided by the FBI.
In addition, the Republican Party explained that it had placed three employees who were subjected to searches Friday on paid administrative leave.
Casada, a Franklin Republican, resigned from the top leadership position in 2019 after it was revealed that he exchanged sexually explicit text messages about women with Cothren, his former chief of staff, years ago.
Other controversy includes Cothren’s use of cocaine in the legislature a few years ago and allegations of spoofed emails to frame a young black activist, which both Casada and Cothren deny.
There are claims of a vote buying attempt in the major education voucher bill that has emerged, which he emphatically denies.
Casada and Cothren did not immediately respond to text messages seeking comment. Smith, a Hixson Republican, and Warner, a Chapel Hill Republican, did not respond to email requests for comment.***