Speaker Glen Casada recently went on Phil Valentine’s radio show on 99.7 to address the recent situation(s) with his racist chief of staff. It was the longest Casada has spoken about the issues, so we figured we’d break down what he said here…
They started by talking about the dust-up at the legislature on the final day, where Democrats were kept off of key committees then locked inside the house by Casada when they attempted to leave in protest during a recess.
“Let’s start with this whole notion Democrats were locked inside the house floor, is there any truth to that?”
He seems to expect Casada to say “nope, no truth at all”. Casada does not:
“They were elected to serve the people, and to vote. State law is very clear that if you’re not there in the chamber the speaker has the authority to come get you by state trooper… if they had left the building I was going to have state troopers come get ’em.”
In other words, yes, he did that.
Valentine then recalibrates, calling it “routine”. Casada agrees, saying the law is if you’re going to be a state legislator “you cannot leave with no cause” and “We’re not going to forcefully hold someone in a room. But we were reminding them of their duties.”
Welcome to Glen Casada’s Tennessee.
Anyway, moving on… next Valentine brings up Speaker Casada’s $200,000 chief of staff Cade Cothren’s text messages, which call Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winson a “thug nig*er” and says “black people are idiots”, among other things.
Here are some screen shots from Channel 5’s Phil Williams, who broke the story:
“The text messages – You’ve seen those. Are they real?”
“You know, I asked my chief of staff point blank: ‘Did you do this?’ He said, ‘Glen, you know me. You know my character… Phil, I’ve worked with him for 10 years. I have never heard him make a derogatory, racist, or bigoted statement.”
Well, if you asked him and he said “no” Glen, that should be good enough for anyone!
This seems like a good time to point out that we uncovered Cade’s Venmo account which also has racist *digital blackface* emojis, as well as some blatant homophobia:
“YOU’RE GAY” pic.twitter.com/gotc8irKqu
– The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 2, 2019
Also, Cade Cothren has now deleted all of his social media accounts. Not quite the actions of an innocent man.
Casada then turns to the issue of whether or not his office falsified evidence by changing the date on an email to frame civil rights activist Justin Jones and get him thrown in jail for violating a no-contact order, as Channel 5 reported.
To Recap: Jones sent an email to Casada’s office on February 25th. Casada’s office says they received it March 1st, which would violate a no-contact order put on Jones by the D.A.’s office in the wake of an assault charge for throwing iced tea at the speaker, who was avoiding meeting with Jones about removing the bust of the first KKK Grand Wizard sitting in the capitol.
Casada’s Chief of Staff had previously lied to Jones, telling him he was misspelling the word “capitol” in his emails, when he wasn’t.
Upon receipt of the email with the March 1st date from Casada’s office, D.A. Glenn Funk’s office filed a motion to have Jones thrown in jail, before eventually circling back to Casada’s office about the date discrepancy and dropping the motion.
Here’s the latest explanation for what happened, from I.T. at the legislature – which says the email was held by them before releasing it days later.
But forgive us for remaining skeptical, since we’ve heard from state reps who say they’ve received pornography from outside the legislature without it being caught up in the system.
Why would a REPLY from someone Cothren was already emailing with get caught up in the system?
And would the date on a “quarantined” email say when it hit the Speaker’s office, or when it initially hit the system? (We’ve heard from many IT people who say the latter)
And why would these messages from Phil Williams, which contain no inflammatory content, not have made it through to Casada’s office?
All due respect to the I.T. department at the legislature, we’re going to need to hear from someone who doesn’t work for Speaker Casada about all of this.
D.A. Glenn Funk’s office needs to investigate.
We’ve asked Funk’s office what the scope of the special prosecutor’s investigation is – are they looking into all of this? Or are they just looking into the actions of Justin Jones?
So far we haven’t heard back.
The racists texts from Casada’s Chief of Staff are one thing, but if his office was intentionally falsifying evidence to get a man thrown in jail, that’s something that must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Back to the interview, Casada then tried to use the technical defense of the date discrepancy to turn the tables on Channel 5’s Phil Williams, essentially saying that if the falsification of evidence story was explainable, that then calls the racist text messages part of the story into question:
“Here’s what we know about this Phil Williams story – the emails he alleged that we doctored is false, and our I.T. department has contacted Channel 5 and said here’s the timeline, here’s the evidence that it went into Casada’s office on March 1st… they still allege we tampered with it. The evidence shows we didn’t. If Channel 5 is willing to run a story they know isn’t true – or at a minimum, misleading – could the rest of the story be false? Did someone feed Phil Williams false text messages that were not real?”
See what Casada’s doing there? He’s using a maybe plausible explanation for the email date discrepancy to then cast aspersions on the veracity of the racists texts from his Chief of Staff Cade Cothren – and, in turn, Phil Williams of Channel 5.
Here’s the problem though: As you can see above, Cothren wasn’t responding to Phil Williams when he was asking for an explanation. He also didn’t respond when Williams showed up with a camera, and neither did Casada, whose only answer was “I know nothing, about that.”
– The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 3, 2019
Then, hours later, they had their story straight.
So to act like Williams didn’t give them every opportunity to explain themselves is simply disingenuous.
As for the veracity of the texts – again, this is something that is easily proven or disproven by whoever has the texts. But knowing what we know about Cothren’s Venmo account (see above), it’s hard to believe they aren’t real.
And in the background of all of this is the fact that this started because the speaker refuses to move the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard, and that the speaker supported and promoted admitted child sex abuser Rep. David Byrd – while lying about the easily disprovable fact that he had met with Byrd’s victims, when he had not.
You can see why anyone who’s paying attention would have trouble taking Casada’s word for anything these days.
Casada then goes on to tell Phil Valentine he has “full faith and confidence” that his chief of staff is not a racist:
“I am convinced in this environment that we live in, because we as conservatives are winning the intellectual battle, I’m convinced some liberal guy living with his mom and dad in their basement created this to frame my chief of staff… I can’t prove it, but it’s the only thing that makes sense.”
No, Glen – your chief of staff being a racist also makes a lot of sense.
Also, racism and forgery are not partisan issues. Casada would like to politicize this, but Every Tennessean who isn’t a racist should be deeply concerned if Casada’s #1 guy is using the N word and calling black people “idiots”, and his office framing people.
The callback to President Trump’s “guy living in a basement” excuse is cute, but let’s not forget Trump used that to say Russia was NOT hacking and tampering with our election, which we now know from Mueller they WERE.
May want to choose a better example next time, Glen.
Valentine then asks Casada what he’ll do if he *finds out* the text messages are real (reminder: he knows they are, so take this with a grain of salt).
“There is no room for anybody at the state capitol to be bigoted or a racist or a hatemongerer. So no matter who it is they would be either resigned or let go. But that’s how much confidence I have in my chief of staff that he did not do this.”
He’s on record: If they’re real, Cade’s gone.
Valentine asks Casada if he’ll require Cothren to turn over his phone. Casada says it’s his personal phone so he can’t compel him to turn it over:
“That would be a bar we ask no one else to comply with… he in front of me typed in key words to see if it would pop up on his phone, and it did not.”
As we all know, all you need to do is delete the text conversation for the words to disappear, so this is a really bad excuse. Hiring Mobile Phone Forensic Experts to properly analyze the phone and recover any deleted texts would be the best way of investigating these rumors.
Casada then goes on to poke the hornets nest that is Phil Williams:
“Phil Williams gets sued for slander about every other day. So this is not the first time he’s run that kind of story… he knew it wasn’t true, and they still ran the story.”
It is true that Phil Williams has had a run-in with a defamation lawyer more than once, but in a truth-off between Glen Casada and Williams, we’ll ride with Williams 10 times out of 10.
We’re not sure going at Williams like this is in the Speaker’s best interest, but time will tell. In the meantime we’ll have our DVR set for Channel 5 at 6pm for the foreseeable future.
Casada also added:
“When we found out the next day, we opened it up and read it, and in the body of the email from Justin Jones it did say February 25, we contacted the D.A.’s office and we said look we said this but we don’t know why it says February 25th… our I.T. Department can 100% say it didn’t go into my inbox until March 1st.”
It’s unclear who initiated the dialogue about the date discrepancy. Some emails seem to show it was actually the D.A.’s office who caught it, not Casada’s office. Also, “the next day” is an interesting phrase to use, since the motion to revoke Jones’ bond was filed on March 4th.
Casada then closes by saying:
“I’ve done a little research. These messages can be created and made to look authentic. That’s why I’m convinced this is a hatchet job by liberal activists.”
Again, Cothren has deleted all social media. He was racist and homophobic on Venmo. He lied to Justin Jones about misspelling “capitol” in emails, and Casada himself lied about meeting with Rep. Byrd’s victims.
Casada has repeatedly shown us his relationship with the truth is distant. Regardless of party, everyone should be concerned about what it says about Tennessee’s speaker of the house that he’s so willing to support admitted child sex offenders and blatant racists.
Valentine then asks about Cothren’s $200,000 a year salary, and asks Casada to commit to lowering it to something more reasonable, but Casada refuses:
“What he does is invaluable.. it’s a very high stress job. The better people are paid well. When you do that you don’t get someone who’s top-notch.”
Let’s remember that Cothren was working for Casada for $60,000 just last year. And “Better People” don’t use the N Word and say “black people are idiots”.
District Attorney Funk, if you’re listening, please investigate the actions of the Speaker’s office. Tennessee deserves to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he isn’t harboring racists who are willing to falsify evidence to have a man thrown in jail. And they need to hear it from someone other than his own I.T. department.
If you think Cade Cothren needs to be fired, holler at Speaker Casada here: Speaker.Glen.Casada@Capitol.TN.Gov
If you think District Attorney Funk needs to investigate all of the above, holler at him here: GlennFunk@jisnashville.org
Thanks for reading! We’re an independent, reader-supported site that depends entirely on you to help us keep holding our public officials accountable and “Yelling the Truth”, so please consider chipping in a $3, $5, or $10 monthly and we’ll keep telling the stories nobody else will: