Knox County Trustee John Duncan III pleaded guilty today in Criminal Court to a felony charge of official misconduct and resigned from office, reports the News Sentinel. He entered the plea by information, which means he agreed to skip a grand jury review.
He received a one-year probation and may apply for diversion.
He must cooperate with “this” and “any other probes,” according to his plea agreement taken by Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz.
His father, U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan, said after the hearing, “We can rely on our faith to get on with our future.”
He declined further comment.
Prosecutor Bill Bright said that Duncan had then-attorney Chad Tindell file a salary lawsuit on Sept. 30, 2010, approving bonuses of $3,000 each for himself and five others, and a $2,000 bonus for a sixth staffer for completing a training program that none of them had, in fact, completed.
Duncan, as part of the plea, is specifically agreeing to participate in the probes of the other employees who received bonuses who have not yet been charged.
Bright alleged that Duncan lied to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation by saying that no one ever told him that it was improper to collect bonuses before completion of the training program.
However, three employees told the TBI that they had, in fact, warned Duncan against trying to collect bonuses without having completed the training.
In February, Tindell received judicial diversion on a misdemeanor charge connected to his participation in the bonus program that let some employees in the Trustee’s Office receive extra money for educational studies they never completed. Tindell worked more than two years as the tax attorney for the Trustee’s Office before leaving early this year. He can seek to wipe his record clean if he abides by the terms of his probation.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Knox County commissioner has pleaded no contest to public indecency nearly a year after he was accused of engaging in oral sex in a park.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/199eDTh ) that Commissioner Jeff Ownby was fined $500 plus court costs for the misdemeanor charge on Friday.
He must also serve six months of supervised probation and is banned from being within 100 yards of the North Knoxville park he was arrested in.
Knoxville police arrested Ownby and another man during a prostitution sting on May 24, 2012. Ownby, who is married, has maintained that the incident was a one-time indiscretion.
Ownby rejected calls for his resignation following his arrest.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Rep. Curry Todd pleaded guilty Friday to drunken driving and gun charges and was sentenced to 48 hours in jail and the loss of his firearm for a year.
The Collierville Republican was arrested in October 2011 in Nashville after failing a roadside sobriety test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found stuffed between the driver’s seat and center console.
Todd, who is best known for sponsoring a law that allows people with handgun carry permits to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, told reporters after the court hearing that he has no plans to resign.
“I’ve always found that we’re molded and shaped by experiences in life, both good and bad,” Todd said. “And it’s my intention to use this experience over the last 15 months to become a more knowledgeable and effective representative of the people of this state.”
The chief of staff to Knox County Trustee John Duncan III and his office attorney pleaded guilty this morning in Criminal Court to facilitation of official misconduct, reports the News Sentinel Joshua A. Burnett, 32, and attorney Chadwick B. Tindell, 48, were both sentenced to 11 months, 29 days probation on the misdemeanor charge by Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Liebowitz.
Both will be eligible for judicial diversion.
Duncan’s status was not immediately available. His attorney, Jeff Hagood, was out of town and said he could not comment.
Burnett and Tindell both resigned from the Trustee’s Office, according to a statement this afternoon from Duncan.
Bill Curtis will become the office’s chief deputy, and resumes will be sought for the delinquent tax attorney position, according to the statement. Tindell will assist with pending matters.
Appearing with his attorney Tommy Hindman, Burnett agreed to cooperate in “any way requested” by prosecutors.
Hindman said the plea is connected to bonuses handed out by Duncan three months after he took office in September 2010.
It’s “a very unfortunate circumstance” and “he took some very bad advice,” Hindman said.
“He is pleased to have this matter concluded and looks forward to the opportunity to move on with his life.”
A Tennessee state employee charged with giving licenses to unqualified applicants pleaded guilty today to federal bribery counts in federal district court in Nashville, reports The Tennessean. The defendant, Larry Murphy, 54, who worked for the Department of Safety, had been accused of issuing state drivers licenses in exchange for more than $5,000 in bribes over five months ending in April.
U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp told Murphy, of Antioch, that he faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
In April, federal prosecutors filed a complaint against Murphy after an investigation found that he was connected to a person suspected of selling identification documents to undocumented immigrants.
According to the complaint, when an undercover FBI agent sought from Murphy a commercial driving license without a Social Security number, Murphy made one up.
Murphy also fabricated the agent’s medical certification by altering information from another applicant, according to the complaint.
The undercover agent paid Murphy $3,500 through a third party.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man pleaded guilty Tuesday to making threats in profanity-laced voice mails left at U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office.
Glendon Swift, 64, of Lenoir City pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening a family member of a federal official. In return, prosecutors said they would recommend a 13-month sentence. Swift could have faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 4. Swift’s attorney, federal public defender Jonathan Moffatt, declined comment.
An FBI affidavit shows the 64-year-old Swift left two messages at the Republican leader’s suburban Richmond office on Oct. 27, threatening to “destroy” the congressman, making derogatory references to Cantor being Jewish and making threats against family members. The calls were traced to Swift’s cellphone.
In one of the calls, Swift said, “How about if I rape your daughter? How about that, if I come into your house and kill your wife?”
Swift admitted to the FBI that he made the calls to the six-term Republican, saying he “got drunk the other night and started cussing people out.” He said he did not remember threatening the congressman’s family, however.