At least one other Nashville judge is entangled in the criminal allegations against Casey Moreland and is likely to be a witness in the case, officials say.
General Sessions Presiding Judge Gale Robinson saw an affidavit Moreland fabricated in an attempt to undercut reports Moreland traded legal favors for sex, according to federal prosecutors.
Moreland is accused of trying to pay more than $6,000 to bribe a woman in exchange for her signing a statement that she never received special treatment from him.
Robinson, who took over for Moreland after he resigned in April, saw the phony statement and discussed it with Moreland before Moreland was arrested on obstruction and witness tampering charges, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors and Moreland's lawyers sparred in a brief Tuesday afternoon hearing during which Moreland sought to have a GPS monitor removed before his trial in June.
A federal judge denied the request, but the hearing revealed new details about the ongoing probe circling the embattled judge and his life after the bench.
Robinson, a fellow judge and longtime friend of Moreland's, has been interviewed by the FBI, said Peter Strianse, Moreland's lawyer. It's unclear if Robinson alerted the FBI about the affidavit or spoke with investigators for another reason.
Robinson wouldn't answer questions from The Tennessean about his role.
"I’m not going to comment on any federal investigation or that federal case," he said Tuesday.
The person who gave the woman the affidavit, James Pedigo, wore a wire for the FBI to record some of his interactions with the woman. Pedigo, a semi-pro wrestler known as "The Beast," already pleaded guilty to his role.
Even after Moreland's release from jail in March, he tried to meet with Robinson by going to Robinson's family's funeral home, prosecutors say. They say those actions showed Moreland flouted a condition of his probation that he have no contact with potential witnesses.
The ex-judge was put on GPS monitoring and home confinement in March shortly after his arrest. He was later allowed to visit his dying mother out-of-state and attend her funeral.
But even U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Brown called the home confinement liberal on Tuesday, after prosecutors said Moreland was able to leave home for things like running errands.
And Moreland was back to work as of about one week ago, said Strianse, who declined to provide details about the ex-judge's employment except to say it's a 9-to-5 business job in Nashville.
Moreland was indicted on five counts in April and has pleaded not guilty.
If convicted of each count, Moreland could face a maximum of 80 years in prison and a fine of $1.25 million, prosecutors have said. However, it's likely he would receive a shorter prison sentence as he has no criminal history.
A related public corruption investigation is ongoing, and it's unknown when that will wrap up. Strianse argued that "phantom investigation" makes it hard for Moreland to obey the condition that he not have contact with potential witnesses.
"We're really hamstrung not knowing who the witnesses are," Strianse said.
Cecil VanDevender, an assistant U.S. attorney, argued that, given Moreland's former profession, the ex-jurist is well aware of the potential witnesses in the case.
"The person in the best position to know who the witnesses are is Mr. Moreland," he argued in court.
Full Article & Source:
FBI questions second Nashville judge in Casey Moreland case
Undercover Recordings At Center Of Moreland Case Nashville judge faces federal criminal charges Casey Moreland to take leave from bench
Judge dismissed tickets, fines for female friend
Metro General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland resigns as presiding judge
Ethics Complaint Levels Charges Against Two Judges, Lewis
Investigation underway into inmate/deputy relationship in judge’s court