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Our Conversation With Casada-Jones Special Prosecutor Craig Northcott About His Comments About Muslims

Yesterday we posted an article about a Facebook conversation between the Special Prosecutor now in charge of the Speaker Casada-Justin Jones investigation, Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott, and Daniel Berry, chair of the Coffee County Young Republicans. The conversation was about Muslims, and Islam.

Northcott repeatedly used the word “evil” when referring to Muslims and their belief system.

It has also come to our attention that Northcott believes protesting NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem was “an attack on Christianity”.

Justin Jones, the subject of the investigation Northcott is now in charge of, is not a Muslim, but he is a civil rights activist who fights for the rights of minorities. Northcott’s Islamophobia and attitude towards players protesting for civil rights has led many to wonder if Northcott is the right person to be in charge of the investigation, and if all citizens in Coffee County can expect to be treated fairly by him.

The American Muslim Advisory Council does not think so.

We spoke with Northcott yesterday morning, before our article posted. Below is our conversation in its entirety. 

HOLLER: We’re going to be running a story about a conversation you had on Facebook with Daniel Berry about your views about Islam and Muslims, and we just wanted to give you a chance to explain where you’re coming from with that?

NORTHCOTT: I’m coming from that as a Christian there’s only one true God, and that is the God of the Bible.

HOLLER: And if there are Muslims in your community, do you think they should be concerned about their ability to get fair treatment from you?

NORTHCOTT: I don’t see any reason why they would be. The laws protect everyone equally. I judge each situation based upon the facts and circumstances of each situation and everyone gets equal treatment.

HOLLER: But you’re calling them “evil” in these messages.

NORTHCOTT: I don’t have it in front of me. Their ideology is evil. If they hold to that ideology that is taught in their holy scriptures, I think I made it clear the ideology is the problem, and you assess each individual as you find them. But the ideology is evil.

HOLLER: But your words were actually that it wasn’t just violent extremists that are evil, what you said was “They’re evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system. They’re no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system” – So it sounds like what you’re saying is they’re evil if they don’t disavow Islam.

NORTHCOTT: Listen, I don’t know how else to say it. You’re going to say what you want to say. I’m a Christian. I believe in Christian values, and there’s only one true God. And any belief system that purports hate – killing anyone who does not comply with that belief system – is evil. I don’t know how else to say it… If you promote that you kill anyone who doesn’t believe what you believe that is evil. If that is what you truly believe you believe in an evil system. And that’s what the Muslim, Islam ideology is, and that is evil. If you don’t profess that, great. If you disavow that, great. But that is what is taught in Islam.

HOLLER: The discrepancy seems to be that – what Daniel was saying is that there are people who are violent and that are Muslims, and that that is evil, but that there are also peaceful Muslims who don’t ascribe to that, but you seemed to keep saying that if you believe in Islam, if you’re a Muslim, that because there are sects of Islam that believe in violence that that makes them a party to it.

NORTHCOTT: Let me say this again – let’s take it out of the context of Islam. Let’s put it in the context of white supremacy. If you believe in white supremacy, and you promote and avow that that is your belief system, that you hate someone who is not white, that is evil. You are tying yourself to an evil system. The ideology is evil. Whether you act on that or not, you still believe in an evil system.

HOLLER: But the equivalency that you’re making at the root of that is that believing in Islam, being Muslim, and being a white supremacist, are on the same level.

NORTHCOTT: I did not equate them. I said let’s take it out of that context. I in no way equated them.

HOLLER: But the point is that you are equating them, because you’re saying…

NORTCOTT: I am not equating them! Let me be very clear. I am not equating them. So don’t put those words in my mouth. I am not equating them.

HOLLER: Sir, your words were…

NORTHCOTT: Listen, if you’re going to try to misconstrue stuff I’m just going to stop talking to you.

HOLLER: I’m not misconstruing anything, I’m replying to your words. Your words were “It is no different than being part of the KKK, aryan nation…”

NORTHCOTT: I did not say that!

HOLLER: You wrote it.

NORTHCOTT: No.

HOLLER: You did.

NORTHCOTT: You can misconstrue it all you want. If you want to report fairly, report fairly. If you don’t, I’m not going to talk to you anymore. That’s just the bottom line.

HOLLER: I’m reading the words that you wrote.

NORTHCOTT: I don’t even have it in front of me! There’s a whole context. There’s a whole string of stuff. And I am telling you what I am expressing. If you don’t want to accept that that’s fine, and I will just stop talking to you.

HOLLER: I very much want to get to the bottom of it. I’m trying to give you a chance to explain it.

NORTHCOTT: I just did.

HOLLER: Ok. If you’re someone who’s Muslim looking at these words here – they are painting all of Islam with that brush.

NORTHCOTT: All of Islam is to be painted with that brush. Each individual is to be treated separately. I say that clearly in there. I don’t know how else to say it.

HOLLER: I think Muslims would take exception to the first part.

NORTHCOTT: I can’t help that.

HOLLER: Do you believe this makes it difficult for you to do your job?

NORTHCOTT: No. It in no way affects how I judge each situation. Why would it?

HOLLER: Because if you start out with the premise that people who believe in a certain religion are evil and have an evil ideology, it seems like that would make it difficult to judge fairly.

NORTHCOTT: Why?

HOLLER: Because it seems like you would not be giving them the benefit of any doubt.

NORTHCOTT: Why?

HOLLER: Because you started out with the premise that they’re evil.

NORTHCOTT: I started out with the premise that the KKK is evil, can I not be fair to them either? There’s a lot of evil in this world. I start out with the premise that if you shoot someone in the head you’ve done an evil thing, can I not be fair to them?

HOLLER: Again, you just went from – we were talking about Muslims – to the KKK. You just made that jump yourself, you’re doing it yourself. I didn’t make you do that.

NORTHCOTT: You pick what you think’s evil. I’m trying to pick something that is clearly evil. You pick what you think is evil. What’s evil?

HOLLER: I agree that the Klan is evil.

NORTHCOTT: Ok! That’s why I picked it.

HOLLER: But I don’t agree that all of Islam is evil. Do you see what I’m saying?

NORTHCOTT: The ideology is evil. If you believe every bit of Islam, you are assigning yourself to an evil ideology. It’s just a fact. If you are believing in an ideology that promotes killing someone who doesn’t believe what you believe, that is evil. Do you agree with that?

HOLLER: Yes.

NORTHCOTT: Ok, there you go.

HOLLER: But what I think a lot of people would have a problem with is… there are things in the Bible that are violent also, are there not?

NORTHCOTT: There’s plenty of stuff in Bible that’s violent. But it doesn’t promote hate. It doesn’t say “kill those who don’t believe you, kill those who reject Christ” – it does not promote that in any way.

HOLLER: I understand, but I think the issue is that if you are saying that Muslims in general believe…

NORTHCOTT: I did not say that.

HOLLER: You said they believe in an evil ideology.

NORTHCOTT: Yes. That ideology is evil because it promotes hate. What does this have to do with anything of Justin Jones, is he a Muslim?

HOLLER: No, he’s not a Muslim.

NORTHCOTT: Well then what does this have to do with what you’re calling me about?

HOLLER: Because he fights for the rights of minorities, and he’s a civil rights activist, and I think it’s worth people understanding that the man who is now in charge of this investigation harbors these beliefs.

NORTHCOTT: Don’t misconstrue what I have to say.

HOLLER: I’m not misconstruing anything. These are your words. This is why I’m calling you.

NORTHCOTT: Let me be very clear – this is the last thing I’m going to say on this. There is a difference between ideology and the individual. I will judge each individual, and each circumstances as I find them. They’re two separate things.

HOLLER: Ok, and to clarify – the point you made about that “there are no constitutional rights, there are God-given rights protected by the constitution, and if you don’t believe in the one true God there’s nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights” – is that something you want to elaborate on a little bit?

NORTHCOTT: You go to our founding documents and it makes it very clear that what is being protected by our Constitution is what God has provided to us – the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness – and those are delineated in our founding documents. And they are specific in our founding documents that they come from our creator. And our Government is established to protect those rights for everyone.

HOLLER: To see the sentence “there are no constitutional rights” I think is shocking to some people who may not have the same outlook on that as you.

NORTHCOTT: Rights are not established by government, the rights are protected by government. That is the distinction I was making. Rights are created by God. They are God-given rights. And they are protected by the constitution.

Special Prosecutor On Casada/Jones Case Says “Islam Is Evil”, And “No Constitutional Rights” Only Rights From The “One True God”

In recent Facebook comments, Coffee County D.A. Craig Northcott, the man now overseeing the Glen Casada-Justin Jones case, expressed intensely Islamophobic views, and also added that “there are no constitutional rights” only “God-given rights protected by the constitution”, adding: “If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect” because “no one other than God has given us any rights.”

In February, civil rights activist Justin Jones was charged with assault and banned from the capitol for throwing a cup of iced tea into the elevator in which Speaker Casada was riding. Casada had been dodging a meeting with Jones to discuss the removal of the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard from the state capitol.

In the wake of the incident, Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk issued a “no-contact order” to Jones, which prohibited him from contacting Casada. Days later, Jones received a revocation of his bond because of an email he had supposedly sent to Speaker Casada AFTER the no-contact order, on March 1, according to an email printout sent by Casada’s office to the D.A.

But Jones had done no such thing. We now know the email in question was actually sent BEFORE the no-contact order.

Was it a “computer glitch”? An I.T. issue, as the legislature’s I.T. department has said?

Or was it Speaker Casada’s office – who has been exposed as using deeply racist language in text messages – doctoring evidence to have Jones thrown in jail?

These are questions that need answering. It will not, however, be District Attorney Funk who answers them.

Funk has recused himself from handling the case, according to a spokesman with his office, because his office was the recipient of the email whose date of receipt has come into question, and therefore Funk believes his office’s role as a potential witness puts him in conflict.

Instead, Funk referred the case to the District Attorneys General Conference, an umbrella group that oversees all the judicial districts in the state of Tennessee, which has since assigned the case to the Coffee County District Attorney’s office.

Why Coffee County? According to someone at the District Attorneys General Conference office, that process involves ruling out districts that are too close or too far away, checking availability, and then choosing from the districts that remain.

Coffee County’s District Attorney is Craig Northcott.

Craig Northcott has made it very clear in a Facebook conversation with the chair of the Coffee County Young Republicans that he believes the ideology of Muslims to be “evil”.

Extended excerpts from the conversation between District Attorney Craig Northcott and Daniel Berry, chair of the Young Republicans, follow below, but here are a few direct quotes from Northcott:

“Their (Muslims) belief system is evil, violent, and against God’s Truth.”

“They are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system… They are no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system.”

“It is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. if you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate.”

“standing firm in God’s Truth which directly opposed to Islam will always be at the center of my position.”

“to deny their religion teaches hate is a denial of the truth”

“There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.”

To be clear, Justin Jones is not a Muslim. He is a Christian who attends Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Still, Northcott’s Islamophobic beliefs would seem to be a problem not only for his involvement in the Justin Jones case – since Jones is a civil rights advocate who fights for the rights of people of color, and minorities in general – but also for his ability to perform his duties as District Attorney in general.

What follows are excerpts from Northcott’s conversation on Facebook with Berry.

The original post is Berry’s, asking if it’s ever “acceptable” to stereotype an entire group:

After a lengthy back and forth between Berry and other Facebook users about whether or not stereotyping Muslims is OK – during which Berry takes the position that it is not – someone then chimes in with an image from www.TheReligionOfPeace.com which makes the claim that “nearly 35,000 deadly terror attacks have been carried out by Islamic Terrorists since 9/11”:

Berry responds that even if that were true, that would mean in infinitesimally small % of Muslims had committed those atrocities: “So let’s damn 1.8 Billion people because of the actions of (a few). That seems pretty logical to me.”

That’s when District Attorney Northcott jumps in.

Right off the bat Northcott says “Their belief system is evil, violent, and against God’s Truth… they are taught to commit many atrocities in the name of their ‘God’ including pedophilia, beating of their wives, female genital mutilation, and ‘honor’ killings… they are evil because they profess a commitment to an evil belief system.”

As for who the “They” are, Northcott indicates he doesn’t just mean those who kill, but Muslims in general: “They are no less evil because they don’t act on their belief system if they refuse to disavow that system. Romans 1:32 comes to mind in which we are taught that you are just as guilty before God if you give approval to those who engage in evil acts. It is no different than being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc. if you support those viewpoints, you are rightly and readily condemned in our society. However, it is now politically incorrect to take a stand against Islam that has the same core of hate. I do not hate the individual but I will not be cowered into pretending that their belief system is legitimate or one of peace.”

Northcott goes on to point to “what is happening in Europe” as evidence.

Berry responds by pointing out that not all Muslims are the same, just as not all Christians are the same, and that the barbaric “customs” Northcott mentioned are only carried out by a few and not part of the religion millions upon millions of Muslims follow. He also addresses many other “misconceptions” in Northcott’s post.

Berry concedes there are dangerous sects of Islam, but that the vast majority are peaceful people. He then suggests they continue the conversation in person, and says anti-Islam ideas Northcott is describing will not be the position of the Young Republicans of Coffee County, because he and other members believe that “close-minded mentality” and “negativity” is why people won’t join.

Northcott does not agree: “Just because some claim to not hold to some of it doesn’t change the fact that it is the core of Islam. Just because some actual or professed Christians disavow God’s Truth on marriage doesn’t make it any less part of Christianity. Falling for political correctness or an individual’s take on Islam is dangerous.”

Berry then tries to impart to Northcott that at the very least vilifying Muslims shouldn’t be at the forefront of what Republicans do, because it doesn’t help the people of Coffee County and takes away from “actual issues” – but Northcott doesn’t go with him on with that.

Northcott: “If the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything, it has no reason to exist. The whole purpose is so citizens can know what the core values of a candidate are if they run as a Republican. If that makes me closed minded, so be it. Frankly, I find that our community and country are crying out for people with principles and the courage to stand up for them.”

Berry then says he trusts Northcott and law enforcement to protect from Islamic extremism or hate crimes, to which Northcott responds he “will work for our community, but standing firm in God’s Truth which directly opposed to Islam will always be at the center of my position.”

Islamophobia isn’t just something he dabbles in, it’s “the center.”

Berry then goes on to explain that he’s not defending those who are violent or extreme, and again reiterates that not all Muslims are. He says he believes there are many misconceptions he’s trying to counter, and that he doesn’t believe “the best way to go about moving people away from Islam (if that is the goal) is to go around and label everyone as a terrorist threat. That pushes people away and isolates them further which in turn has the opposite of the intended effect.”

Northcott answers by telling Berry he finds it “extremely offensive that you chose Easter weekend to be an apologist for Islam,” and says the focus should be on Christ instead and the “historical facts” of Christ’s return, and that whoever believes them “is saved and will spend all eternity in Heaven with God.”

Berry asks D.A. Northcott “not to label him as an apologist simply because you disagree with or don’t understand my stance, to which Northcott decides to summarize it all and then he’s “moving on”.

To summarize, Northcott turns to bullet points.

#1 is that Berry saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God is “blasphemy”.

#2 is that he’s troubled Berry hasn’t cited any scripture, only the Koran.

But #3 is the kicker…

3) There are no constitutional rights. There are God given rights protected by the constitution. If you don’t believe in the one true God, there is nothing to protect. No one other than God has given us any rights.

Quite a statement from a District Attorney.

In bullet point #4 Northcott says if being D.A. means he has to stay silent on this, he doesn’t want his job: “I will not be silenced by implications that I am not and can not do my job correctly if I don’t agree with you. If I have to remain silent and not give a defense of the Gospel, I don’t want my job.”

He then says he’s “clearly” not required to stay silent because he has freedom of speech.

In #5 Northcott says “to deny their religion teaches hate is a denial of the truth” – then goes on to tell Berry where to find *better* info about Islam.

Did #3 concern you? It concerned Berry too.

Berry says, “I would argue #3 disqualified you from being D.A.”

Berry says Northcott represents “EVERY SINGLE PERSON” as an elected official regardless of their beliefs, “Not just Christians,” and says #3 concerns him greatly because he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Northcott then elaborates on #3, adding that “Rights come from God”, and therefore “if there is no God there is nothing to protect”.

Berry says one of those rights is the freedom of religion and asks if Northcott defends that right regardless of which religion it is. Northcott responds by citing the Declaration of Independence and says the Founding Fathers asserted our “self-evident” rights come from God, and among them is the freedom of religion – even if it means not worshipping Him: “So, yes, freedom of religion comes from God even when that freedom results in rejecting him.”

Northcott says he does defend the right to freedom of religion, as long as nobody gets hurt, but again reminds Berry he thinks Islam = Hate: “No one including myself or the government can stop the mental attitude of hate.”

He then goes on to say Berry saying bullet point #3 disqualified him from office was said “without factual basis” and therefore “ends up just harming your (Berry’s) credibility.

Berry seems relieved Northcott does defend Freedom of Religion, and suggests Northcott’s bullet point #3 where he says “there are no Constitutional rights” was “easily misinterpreted” by anyone reading it.

Berry apologizes to Northcott, and elaborates on his views.

Northcott accepts his apology, and offers to come by and teach on the subject of the role of Christians in government (which does not seem to subscribe to the separation of church and state).

In summation, the man now in charge of Justin Jones case thinks Islam is”evil” and on par with the KKK, and that there’s no such thing as constitutional rights, only rights the one true God gave us that the constitution upholds. 

Northcott has also “liked” the page of Act! For Coffee County, the Coffee County chapter of Act for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group.

When contacted for comment by the Holler, Northcott responded:

“The laws protect everyone equally. I judge every situation based up on the facts and circumstances… you assess each individual as you find them, but the ideology is evil.”

While Berry told us:

“I was a little alarmed in the statement he made regarding that ‘all rights come from the one true God.’ Coming from a prosecutor, that’s a little alarming. I believe religion is separate from the law. When you become an elected official it’s ok to hang onto those beliefs but you have to separate those on some level.”

As for Northcott’s beliefs about Muslims, Berry says:

“I think he’s absolutely wrong in his beliefs. I understand his fear, but when I read those comments as a non-Muslim, they’re extremely offensive to me. If I were a Muslim, especially coming from a public official, I’d find that to be extremely offensive and not becoming of somebody in that position.”

Does Berry believe Justin Jones should be concerned about Northcott’s ability to oversee a case like this?

“I would be extremely concerned if I was an activist (like Jones) fighting for those rights and that was the person on my case, having read those comment. I would question his ability to be fair.”

If after reading all of this you agree that Justin Jones – and people of color, and Muslims in general – may have a hard time getting justice from a man who holds these beliefs, feel free to holler at District Attorney Northcott HERE.

VIDEO: THE SPEAKER CASADA SUPERCUT

A lot has happened in the past 2 weeks, so here’s our super cut of some of it. Watch and share.

It’s time for Speaker Glen Casada to resign. If you agree, holler at him HERE.

 

D.A.’s Office: Jones Email Situation Up to Coffee County Now, No Further Casada Investigations (Yet)

We had been trying to get some questions answered about the situation surrounding Justin Jones, a civil rights activist who nearly had his bond revoked for sending an email to Speaker Casada’s office after a no-contact order, which we now know he did not do, and it seems the date on the email in question may have been altered.

The case has been passed off to a special prosecutor because District Attorney Glenn Funk’s office has determined it has a conflict of interest. After a number of unanswered emails we found our way to Steve Hayslip, who handles communications for Funk’s office. He spoke with us today. Below is that conversation in full.

HOLLER: With the Justin Jones investigation, one of the questions that seems to be outstanding is the scope of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation… are they looking into Justin? Or are they looking into the email discrepancy?

HAYSLIP: That would be completely up to the Coffee County D.A. Once the District Attorneys General Conference selected them – and however that process was done I’m not sure, but it’s basically an umbrella group that oversees all the judicial districts in the state of Tennessee… when we have a conflict of interest, or when any of the 31 districts have a conflict of interest, they would appeal to the conference, the overall umbrella organization, and say “Hey look we can’t handle this case, we have some sort of reason why we can’t move forward with our prosecution, we request that you select another jurisdiction to take that over.” We basically asked for them to select another jurisdiction. They selected Coffee County. So Coffee County will now handle the entire scope of the Jones investigation. It’ll be up to them to decide how far they want to go in looking at the emails, if that’s part of their choosing, and even the charges defendant Jones is facing right now. I hate to pass the buck, but it’s completely up to them.

HOLLER: Can I ask why it was decided there was a conflict of interest?

HAYSLIP: Given the fact that we had received the email that became controversial, and we could not verify its authenticity – given the fact that we received it, and we were going to be acting upon it, and luckily we didn’t because we couldn’t verify the authenticity of it… so when we couldn’t verify the authenticity, that’s when we pulled that motion to revoke his bond. We’re not going to say someone violated their bond when we have a shred of uncertainty about the validity of that email. And that’s exactly how we felt. When our Assistant District Attorney saw those two differing dates he said “Wait a minute, hold on. We Gotta pull the car over to the side of the road.” We’re not gonna move forward. We’re certainly not going to deny someone their liberty based on information we cannot prove to be true. And if there’s any uncertainty we’re not going to move forward. So that’s why we struck the motion to revoke the bond… at that point we’re just waiting on I.T. to give us the reasoning why there were differing dates. As time kept going, it was the end of the legislative session, we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt to let us know, ok we’re waiting to find out why there are 2 different dates on this email. As time drew closer and the legislative session was coming to an end, District Attorney Funk realized we can’t prosecute this case because we were the recipient of this email that’s in question. These dates that were in question. We can’t be both a potential witness to something that may have happened – if that date was not authentic, we’ve become a witness to that, and at the same time we’re turning around and trying to prosecute based on that information? That’s  why we realized we needed to pass this on to the District Attorneys General Conference, have them choose another jurisdiction to take this over. 

HOLLER: When you passed it on, was there any recommendation made as to anything concerning the case?

HAYSLIP: Absolutely not. Nope, absolutely not. Other than the fact that we’ve received an email that we cannot verify the authenticity.

HOLLER: So you did say that? You made them aware of what was happening?

HAYSLIP: Yes.

HOLLER: Is there any other investigation happening through your office surrounding anything involving Glen Casada?

HAYSLIP: Not to my knowledge. At this point I don’t think there is right now. And I don’t know if there will be in the future. I don’t think anyone has requested it. As far as I know everything is all tied to the email, and that’s in the hands of Coffee County. How far they want to dive into that is completely up to them.

HOLLER: One of the reports in the last few days was about Speaker Casada paying a staffer to handle political duties – something like a $50,000 staffer that doesn’t have to show up to work that was drafting attacks on Rep. Byrd’s accusers. Is that the D.A. office’s purview? Megan Barry got in trouble for even less than that financially dollar-wise. Is that something the District Attorney’s office would look into?

HAYSLIP: I think if it was brought to our attention we’d have to review it and find out whether or not that falls within our scope. We’d look at it and if it’s not in our scope we’d send it to the proper authority.

Casada Speaks After Meeting with the Black Caucus

Here’s our twitter thread breaking down Casada’s press conference after he met with the Black Caucus. We’re putting it here for those who don’t follow us on Twitter.

SPEAKER CASADA, A TIMELINE: 2012-2019

Timeline of Some of Tennessee Speaker of The House of Representatives Glen Casada’s Actions and Statements

FROM 2012-2019

Compiled by Tina Cahalan Jones

 

2003 

 Casada elected to TN House of Representative

2009

 Casada a plaintiff in failed “birther” lawsuit against President Obama

2012

 Josh Smith, owner of the Standard Club (popular with lawmakers) starts a PAC

2013

 Jeremy Durham involved in prescription drug fraud probe in Williamson Co; Glenn Funk involved as defense counsel
 Lawmakers were using $3k donations from the Standard PAC to pay their $3k dues to the Standard

2014

 February 2014Casada backed legislation cutting off welfare recipients who test positive for drugs, saying “If taxpayers are going to support you there are certain criteria you need to adhere to.”
 February 2014 in a text conversation Casada Chief Of Staff Cade Cothren discussed an intern’s attractive appearance. “I’m gonna keep hitting on her just to see what happens.
 Durham had sex in his legislative office w/20-year-old college student
 Grand Jury could not come to a “true bill” decision on Durham and did not indict re drug charges
 Dec 2014 Durham narrowly elected House whip – specifically thanked Casada “for his vocal support: Casada “This is a perfect role for Representative Durham

2015 

 Cothren, while working as spokesman for House Republican Caucus – which Casada chaired – sends text saying “black people are idiots.” (CASADA: “If I received that, I don’t remember. If I had seen it, you would have seen another text coming from me saying ‘this has to stop’ because I know me. I know I would have responded that way if I had seen that text.”)
 Cothren texted: “just did a gram of cocaine in my office.” At 10:38 a.m. on a work day
 April 2015 Cothren via text solicited oral sex and nude photos from an intern. He also asked her whether she was wearing underwear and attempted to pivot the topic of a conversation to orgasms.
 May 2015 Durham engaged in illegal campaign finance transactions
 Summer 2015 Casada becomes aware of sexual harassment allegations against Durham but takes no action
 December 2015 Casada says he didn’t think the two allegations [drugs and sexual harassment] “should or do disqualify him [Durham] from leadership”; said he considered the drug abuse allegations were “case closed”; Cade Cothren involved in messaging

2016 

 About Jan 5, Casada and other GOP leadership staffer told of new sexual harassment allegations against Durham
 Jan 12 Republican Caucus met to decide whether to strip Durham of leadership position – debate got hung up in procedural wrangling and vote to proceed on discussion failed
 Jan 13 Republicans introduced a bill placing responsibility for legal fees on plaintiffs who lose sexual harassment claims against state and local gov’t employees – House Bill 1679
 Jan 24 Tennessean investigation found Durham acted inappropriately towards 22 women puts the pressure on Durham to resign
 Jan 24th Durham resigned from leadership position as House Majority Whip, Casada stood by him until the very end when he finally joined calls for his resignation saying “it was the mature thing to do” but not calling for ouster from House
 Jan 27 Durham left the Caucus voluntarily / Casada: “If the rumors about Durham are true then he needs to focus on his family and receiving the help that he needs.” – but no call for resignation from the legislature, as Speaker Harwell and other members of the GOP were doing
 Jan 28 Casada: “Have we not all heard rumors? . . .Not one of them had proof or evidence. . . “Says he informed the victims of the legislative sexual harassment policy . . . / confirmed he had heard of rumors for months – but evidently did nothing
 March 2 HB 1679 shift in economic burden to some victims of sexual harassment passed House, Casada and Durham voted “yes”; effective June 1
 Early April state attorney general issued a report midway through his investigation about Durham calling him a “continuing risk” to women; then speaker Harwell, the Governor, and other GOP leaders again called for his resignation from the legislature / Casada did not join them
 April 21 Despite not joining calls for Durham’s resignation, Casada did sign onto a letter calling for the firing of a high-ranking GOP official b/c his wife was working as a consultant challenging GOP incumbents
 May 2016 Cothren sent text message to Casada, but he did not respond- “I have many miles and many girls to go before I sleep”
 May 2016 despite Durham no longer being in the caucus and being under severe scrutiny Casada attended a fundraiser for him in Franklin
 Casada said because Durham has denied the allegations he is willing to support him, “If there is direct evidence refuting his words to me, that would change everything.”
 Campaign Finance Allegations. June 2016 Allegations re Durham campaign finance problems come to light – Casada says “if true” Durham should resign but distinguishes between them and the sexual harassment allegations saying, “This [the campaign finance allegations] is empirical, this is measurable, it’s is his own words indicting him where the harassment charges were he said this and she said this” 
 Casada admits he didn’t lose faith in Durham until the allegations turned financial: “When you invest a lot in somebody you hope against hope that maybe it was incorrect and I knew it wasn’t. At that point I knew it was over.”
 His financials showed that Durham paid Michael Lofti’s consulting firm $51,000 (while he was Andy Holt’s Legislative Aide – $9k was later refunded) and paid Andy Holt $500 for “office supplies”
 July 2016 House committee re Durham’s sexual harassment – recommended leaving it up to the voters
 July 2016 Attorney General report about Durham – recommended expulsion – Casada: “[Durham] lied to me” – continued to prior knowledge of Durham’s behavior, called Durham’s behavior “an isolated incident”
 July 2016 Cothren texted a picture of a female friend pole dancing to Casada. / Casada responded, “Nice pics.” / Cothren: “Hands to yourself :)”/ Casada: “Can I just touch?” / Cothren: “Lol okay maybe just once.”/ Casada: “Lol.”
 Late July 2016 – Casada tries to tie a vote on expelling Durham to a vote on expelling a Democratic lawmaker who was facing charges for tax evasion
 August – Cothren texted Casada about a sexual encounter he had with a woman, “Just so y’all know, I did f—k (woman) in the bathroom at party fowl . . . Will send pictures later,” / Casada’s responded: “Only gone for 60 seconds,” adding, “R u a minute man???;) / Cothren – “Yes, I take after you. Like father like son,” / Casada – “Lolol! If I’m happy, then all is good!!!!!” 
 August 4 Primary Election held – Durham lost to Sam Whitson
 Aug 16 Lofti fired for political activity
 Beth Harwell said his political consulting was “in conflict with his service in the legislature.”
 During that year (by September), Cothren promoted to press secretary for the Tennessee House Republican Caucus.
 September Federal Election officials investigating Durham
 September 13 Durham expelled
 Sometime in the year 2016 (as all the above was happening)
 Casada re: Cothren ”Those girls aren’t safe!!! Shepard? He’s the wolf!!!” 
 Text exchange between Casada and Cothren in which Cothren responded with a “black people” meme – Casada did not rebuke him and claims he never received the text
 Cothren made sexual advances toward a female lobbyist about how he would like to sleep with older women.

 

2017

 February 7 Rep Lovell engaged in sexual harassment
o In the wake of Durham, the House Ethics Committee and other legislators swing quickly into action – reporting him and investigating
o House GOP Caucus Chair Williams questioned Lovell and told him if the allegations were true he should resign, and he does ultimately resign
o By contrast, Majority Leader Casada “chatted with him on the House floor or at a legislative reception that evening. Casada said he did not ask Lovell to resign or even discuss the allegations. Instead they made small talk.”
 March 2017 Casada tried to amend a bill introduced by David Byrd (increasing per diem payment for Reps) in such a way that it would reverse previous policy to allow reimbursement for legislators’ hotels even if they lived nearby; protestors brought him sleeping bags; some claimed it was because he was going through a divorce and had no place to stay
 Early April 2017 – the Tennessean reported re membership in the Standard Club owned by Josh Smith, re the Standard’s PAC being used to fund activities, food, etc for lawmakers including Casada
o Since 2013, lawmakers were paying their $3k membership dues to the Standard after receiving $3k donations from the Standard’s PAC [possible impermissible gift]
o Casada commented: “I can’t speak on specifics, but I contend that’s just coincidental.”
 May 2017 – Casada objected to an honorary resolution for Kay West (music journalist) b/c she once worked as a receptionist at Penthouse – a magazine which he said “has a tendency to make women, uh, objects”
 June 2017 complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission targets Rep. Kelsey but also alleges that Casada “violated federal campaign finance laws.”
o Casada: “It is not uncommon for allies to support each other in their political endeavors.” He called the claims “absurd.”
 July 2017 Casada’s name floated for Speaker position
 Early October Casada met with the FBI regarding Durham
o Casada said the agents asked him if he knew anything about Durham receiving any favors or money in exchange for sponsoring legislation. “I said I do not know anything about that.” He was specifically questioned about any “quid pro quo.”

 

2018

 Feb 2018 For the first time since he was elected in 2002, Casada faced a challenger in the GOP Primary – African American woman Rae Shawn Sanchez
 Feb 2018 One of Byrd’s accusers secretly recorded a conversation with him.
o Byrd: “I wish I had a do-over, because I promise you I would have corrected that and that would’ve never happened. . . .I’ve lived with that …You don’t know how hard it has been for me.” 
 March 5 “The Tennessee House Republican Caucus recalled a resolution … after its resolution Monday after it unwittingly voted to honor” an African American female activist. “The House, following time-worn tradition, unanimously voted for and co-sponsored the resolution. . . apparently without giving the resolutions a close read. Then Monday, Majority Leader Glen Casada successful motioned to recall the resolution for a revote . . . Repeating claims Casada made [Cade] Cothren [spokesman for the House Republicans] said caucus members objected to language in the resolution supportive of Black Lives Matter . . . “and references to the activist’s opposition to the Confederate monument in Memphis. “Cothren also repeated Casada’s controversial claim that some BLM activists had called for the ‘murder’ of police officers. ‘It had nothing to do with racism whatsoever.’ 
 March 27 story breaks that 3 women accused Byrd of assault in WSMV report
o Byrd didn’t deny, said he couldn’t recall
o Speaker Harwell and other GOP leaders immediately called for his resignation 
o Casada said he would reserve his opinion until he could talk to Byrd personally; he was “disappointed by the representative’s statement”; “I just want to look him in the eye, man to man.”
 April 4 Casada statement
o Intended to “follow up” with Byrd
o Would not join call for resignation (b/c allegations were related to activities outside of the legislature)
o “The David Byrd I know is not the David Byrd being described in these allegations. However, they are serious claims and these women have a right to be heard. David Byrd also has that same right for his side of the story.” “Voters will have opportunity to decide.”
 April 18  Casada’s primary opponent disqualified at the 11th hour by the state GOP party officials
 June 5 – Casada confirms plans to get actively involved in open GOP primary contests throughout the state – clearly a ploy to garner votes for the Speaker job
o Using his CAS-PAC he planned to hire 13 staffers and offer assistance to GOP candidates; making contributions budgeted to total $208k
o Another article stated that he used 12 “team captains” – other legislators – to help him garner votes for the Speaker job
 July  Casada’s CAS-PAC sent out mailers attacking one Republican candidate in a primary race against another Republican in District 73 (Jackson-Madison Co)
o According to the person benefitting from the attack he did not condone nor solicit the mailers
o The attacked candidate believed he was targeted b/c (if elected) he was likely to vote for Casada’s opponent in Speaker race
 Sept 12 Casada announced run for Speaker
 Sept 2018 CAS PAC issued attack ads discrediting Byrd’s accusers, including a video that likened Byrd to President Donald Trump and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying the men had been attacked by “unhinged liberals.”  Michael Lofti worked on the ads; Lofti also as part of his job for CAS-PAC ran Facebook page, the Alliance for Tennessee Families, that was working to get Rep. David Byrd re-elected.
o Lotfi has pushed back, arguing that the Facebook ad’s reference to the accusers’ “lies” was generic language that was also used in other races. “The ad you referenced absolutely makes no mention of the women who accused Byrd, and never intended to.” Women involved in opposing Byrd, however, say that – in the context of his race and given the targeting of his district – the implication was clear.
 November – Casada and Byrd handily re-elected in home districts
 November 20 Casada elected Speaker
o Several freshman lawmakers who he had helped get elected backed his nomination
o Said at press conference he would not help lawmakers get re-elected if they were involved in “some kind of criminal activity.”
o Casada disputed rumors that he planned to clean house among employees at the Legislature

 

2019 

 About Jan 8- Casada’s budget for the legislature grows dramatically, including $6m for “legislative operations” plus more funds for new personnel costs
o The Legislative Administration Office has confirmed:
 that the House Speaker, Lieutenant Governor and the Senate and House Chief Clerks are now able to listen to and watch the rooms where committee meetings are occurring. 
 A white noise system was installed in the ceilings of the hallways inside and outside Casada’s office. 
 Cothren (Casada’s chief of staff) received a $130k raise – making him higher paid than the Governor’s chief of staff and most of the State’s Department Commissioners
 Potentially bundled in these personnel costs are the hiring of Michael Lofti for $48k/year – his Financial disclosures show that in 2018 his consulting firm Red Ivory Strategies was paid $123,300 from CAS-PAC
 Recall: part of his job for CAS-PAC in 2018 was running a Facebook page working to get Rep. David Byrd re-elected and discrediting his accusers; also, in August 2016, then Speaker Harwell fired Lofti from working for the House b/c she felt his political consulting was “in conflict with his service in the legislature.”
 Also possibly part of these increased costs – Rep. Faison (R ) alleges the hiring of 50% morelegislative analysts this year who were “researching what was being said” inside hallways of the legislature.
 at least two research analysts brought on this year have developed reputations among some members as hired busybodies tasked with keeping tabs on House members — particularly Republicans — and reporting information back to Cothren and Casada.
  

 

 January 10 Casada appointed Rep Byrd to chair Education subcommittee despite abuse allegations – “It is an accusation, but we cannot make actions on accusations.”
o “This happened long ago, so it’s not within the House of Representative’s purview” 
 Feb 19 Casada said, in a video, referring to Byrd accusers, that if he had been raped he would have moved. “I don’t think they’re lying. I think they’re believing something that’s not true.” Casada was asked twice in the video if he knows what exactly Byrd was apologizing for, and both times he said he does not know. 
o Casada issued a statement on Feb 20thattempting to clarify that he had meant re: the rape comment – “you should absolutely move to hold those involved fully accountable
o Also, in video Casada said re: the victims — “They came into my office and spoke, . .[I] “listened to the victims.” – which was not true.
o In response to being corrected on this point Cothren said: “Once again the media is letting a liberal political activist drive their agenda instead of sticking to the facts. Speaker Casada has talked to and met with dozens of Tennesseans who have expressed their view on this matter over the last several months.” Cothren said he was “not aware of him (Casada) meeting with these specific women.” Asked if Casada lied about meeting with Byrd’s accusers, Cothren said, “No. He was referring to the many, many people he has talked to about this.” 
 Feb 20 reporter escorted out of Casada’s office by State Troopers after seeking comment on Byrd allegations –  at Casada’s order
 Feb 21 Justin Jones, an African American activist, is lied to by Cothren regarding Jones’ attempts to get a meeting with Casada  https://youtu.be/mnJkGm6_TG8
 Feb 23 Casada’s handling of the Byrd matter comes under sharp criticism
 Feb 24 Casada wrote an opEd in The Tennessean: “Integrity and consistency matter with sexual misconduct allegations” – he falsely claimed that an “anonymous website” had been the source of a false claim by the Tennessean that he said that rape victims should “just move”
o He also accurately said (but not in the way he meant): “I’ve seen first hand how political operatives . . . will readily, happily and irresponsibly betray actual victims of sexual misconduct as a means to an end to achieve their agenda.”
 Feb 25 Jones emails Casada seeking an appointment to talk 
 Late Feb – a cup was thrown onto Casada’s elevator — activist Justin Jones was arrested for assault/released on bond – ordered to have no contact w/ Casada
 Feb 26 3 women accusing Byrd push back on Casada’s claim that he met with them to discuss allegations
 Feb 26 demonstrators removed from Byrd’s hearing room at Casada’s order
o Cothren said they were removed b/c they were “disrupting the legislative process”
o Trooper said they were directed to do so because they were making some “uncomfortable”
o Gov. Lee responds with statement that all voices should be heard
 Feb 28 Microphones of 2 lawmakers shut off when they attempted to question Casada from the floor re Byrd protestors.  
 March 3 Spokesman for House GOP threatened to end press conference b/c reporters were asking Casada questions about sexual misconduct rather than his legislative agenda
o Casada said: Your 1st Amendment rights “end at your nose.”
 March 3 Cothren forwards (altered?) email from Jones to Funk claiming it is evidence of unauthorized contact
o Same day, the DA’s office responds to Cothren questioning the date discrepancy 
 March 4 Glenn Funk filed a motion to revoke Jones’ bond
 March 5 Cothren asked to “hold off” on filing motion – too late / Casada said he “know nothing of that — nothing
 March 20 Gov. Lee meets w/one of the Byrd accusers– she thinks “he believed her”
o The next day Lee says he is “processing” and weighing his options
 House Ethics Committee members ask Casada to remove Byrd from chairmanship
 March 29 Casada asks Byrd to step down from Chairmanship b/c he had become a “distraction” – not due to allegations that had come to light a year previous
o “Following discussions with members of the House and after careful consideration, I have formally asked Representative Byrd to step down from his position as Chairman of the House Education Administration Subcommittee. Representative Byrd agrees that this is the best path forward in ensuring the House of Representatives can focus on the issues that truly matter to all Tennesseans. This decision is based on input from members and to continue the orderly operations of the House. I thank Representative Byrd for agreeing to serve in this position, and I am confident this body will be even stronger moving forward,” 
 May 2 End of session press conference – Casada claims “there’s something not right about that story, claiming it was “fake news”
 May 5 (Sunday) NewsChannel 5 informed Casada and Cothren that they had photos and videos from Cothren’s texts
 May 5 – In a secretly recorded phone call, Casada accused a former associate of being the source of racist text messages sent by Cothren. “What’s happened is there’s accusations that Cade has sent some inflammatory text messages. . . You haven’t released any personal text messages Cade would have sent you, have you? . . . It sounds like you might have…. I hate that you did that.”
 May 6 Early Monday morning – Cothren confronted with past drug use and racist and sexist texts; admitted he sent “some” of the texts
o “Regarding the texts in question, I readily admit that I sent some of them,” Cothren said in a joint statement with Casada.
o Later in the day Cothren said he “couldn’t remember” if he sent them
 May 6 Casada appears on Phil Valentine radio show
o Valentine: “The text messages – You’ve seen those. Are they real?”
o Casada (despite knowing about the texts and their source) says this: “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. … 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. .. .  I’m convinced this is a hatchet job by liberal activists.”
 May 6 newscast, NewsChannel 5 releases second batch of lewd texts, this time implicating Casada
 May 6 about 7 pm Cothren resigned 
 May 7 Tuesday morning Casada appoints Scott Gilmer as new Chief of Staff
o Gilmer had been former Speaker Harwell’s chief of staff and Casada had kept him on in a different capacity, where he earned slightly less than Cothren
o However, Gilmer and Casada’s relationship comes with some baggage – In 2009, when he was Casada’s aide, Gilmer entered a no contest plea to a misdemeanor charge for creating a fake political website and impersonating a Democratic lawmaker; Gilmer had been paid by Casada and another GOP lawmaker to provide consulting work around the same time the fake website was created. A restraining order was filed against Gilmer to have the website taken down. A House Ethics complaint was filed against Casada for his implications with Gilmer but that committee passed on hearing the complaint saying they “weren’t the right body”.
 May 7 Casada appeared on WWTN FM radio
o defended his lewd exchanges saying it was “locker room talk” that does not reflect his current views about women; no longer claiming texts were false
o “I’m embarrassed about that. In the last couple of years, I have come to realize … I can’t do thisand it is not appropriate behavior. So, yes, I participated in locker room talk with two adult men that was not intended to go to anyone else, and I was wrong. In the last several years, that kind of talk has not entered and left my mouth.”
o As for the racist text message sent to him, Casada said: “If I received that, I don’t remember . . .If I had seen it, you would have seen another text coming from me saying ‘this has to stop’ because I know me. I know I would have responded that way if I had seen that text.”
 May 7 – Black Caucus members call on TBI to investigate Speaker Casada’s office, Cothren involvement in Jones e-mail
o Nashville DA Glenn Funk asked the state DA’s conference to appoint a special prosecutor, and the TBI said it will be working with that agency to figure out its next move.
 May 7, late in the day, the Tennessean reported that Casada 
o Placed a white noise machine system inside and outside his legislative office,
o allowed Cothren to eavesdrop on committee rooms, and
o caused enough concern among some lawmakers to have at least three to have or plan to have their offices checked for recording devices.
 Casada responded re: the bugging “These accusations are untrue and inaccurate.” Later he said, “The notion that my office would bug someone else’s office is laughable and patently false.”
 May 8, Wednesday – Calls for resignation begin
o Phil Valentine calls for Casada’s resignation based on his lies
 “I don’t appreciate the fact that he came on my show and lied to everybody out there . . . I can’t believe that he hasn’t resigned already. I think it’s time to go, time to move on.”
o Jeremy Faison (R) from East TN forcefully calls for him to step down from speaker position
o State House, Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn, echoed Faison’s call.
o State Rep Bob Freeman (D), Rep Sam Whitson, etc
 May 8 Dems call for federal probe into eavesdropping
 May 8 House GOP Caucus Conference call
o  
o afternoon Casada apologized and released an “Action Plan”
 May 9 – Thursday – the FBI opens an investigation in the controversial voucher plan vote
o Specifically looking at whether campaign contributions were traded for votes
 May 9  afternoon Rep. Jason Zachary R said on Twitter he has formally requested that his caucus meet – wants to “discuss the direction moving forward in your House of Representatives”; said Rep. Sexton had already written the letter
o Tennessee Firearms Assoc replies to Tweet calling for Casada’s removal
 May 9 evening – Governor Lee weighs in – if Casada worked for him, he would ask him to resign
 May 10 Friday – Craig Northcutt, the DA for Coffee County, appointed special prosecutor to investigate email 
 May 10 Reports surface that Casada had hired Michael Lofti to work for him, with apparently no real duties

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Deberry Not Calling For Casada’s Resignation Yet, Wants to Talk “Man To Man”

We had a chance to catch up with Memphis Democrat Rep. John Deberry Jr. by phone this morning. Deberry was the lone Dem to vote in favor of the Governor’s School Vouchers, and one of the only Dems to support the “Heartbeat Bill”, which sought to ban abortions after 6 weeks.

Deberry says he’s an “independent-minded” legislator, and says he wanted to talk to Speaker Casada in person before either calling for his resignation or supporting his continued leadership. (Here’s our new VIDEO of what has happened on Casada’s watch this session, as a refresher)

Q: Can you tell us your thoughts on the Speaker Casada situation, and whether or not you think he should resign?

JD: “I’m going to keep my comments pretty short and generic on it because I’ve been traveling a lot since the end of session making a living… I’ve read the comments and statements that have been made, but I haven’t talked to Speaker Casada himself. Until I talk to the speaker, until I look at him man to man, eyeball to eyeball and find out what he has to say about current events I don’t have a whole lot of opinion. Basically I think a whole lot has been said that is premature. I know that some of the things that have been done have been repugnant, and I’m quite sure he knows that also – and unacceptable, and I’m quite sure he knows that also – but here again I have worked with Speaker Casada ever since he came into the legislature as a Freshman. He was on my committee when I chaired Children and Family. So I will give him the benefit of talking to him man to man before I make any type of statements as to what his future, that he decides what his future ought to be.”

Q: Do you think he’s in a position to be honest with you considering he’s been found to have been lying about this quite a few times already?
JD: “I’m not naive. I’m not saying I’ll approach him with any type of naiveté. I’ve been preaching for over 50 years, I’ve raised 2 children and I’ve dealt with all types of situations. Like I would do with any other individual that has been accused of something, I would give him the opportunity to explain. Whether I accept it or not would be my prerogative. I think he’s going to have a very difficult time explaining this away. I think he’s going to have a very difficult time regaining the trust of the public and of the legislature, and of his colleagues, and I think that’s going to be the test set before him in the coming days.”
Q: We’re going to ask the same question that was asked of the Governor — If Speaker Casada worked for you, and you knew someone under him had been doing cocaine in the office and he had covered up for him, and that he himself had participated in lewd text messages, would you ask him to resign?
JD: “It’s unacceptable, and I don’t think any of us condone it, but I’m not going to go on record and ask him to resign. I’m quite sure that it will be very difficult for him to survive it. And that’s what I will say.”
Q: The Democratic caucus has made their position that he should resign. Are you on board with that?
JD: “I haven’t made any type of vote, any type of collective statement with the Democratic caucus. My colleagues have the absolute right to think and say what they think and believe and say. I have always conducted myself in the legislature as a person who thinks independently and I try to look at situations on their merit. We’re all grown. We’re not naive. We know exactly what we’re looking at, and we know exactly what has to be done in order to correct the situation. The caucus has the absolute right to make those statements. So does the governor and everyone else. At the same time there is a human being involved here. And I am always – no matter who that person is, Republican or Democrat, I am always going to deal with that human being and try to do what I can to try to help them as they try to make that transition. If Speaker Casada resigns, he’s going to resign with at least one person trying to help him move on with life and be a better person and never make those mistakes again, and that’s the way I choose to approach it.”
Q: When do you foresee having the time to look him in the eye and talk to him?
JD: “I absolutely plan on talking with Speaker Casada. There’s no way something of this magnitude is going to happen without looking at him man to man and eyeball to eyeball and him understanding exactly where I stand. I do have a position. And it is not resignation or avoidance. It is simple that that’s the way I deal with people. I’ve been there for 25 years. I’ve watched men destroy themselves. We used to raise chickens on the farm. And when there was a spot on one chicken all the chickens pecked at it until the chicken was dead. It’s my responsibility as someone who’s been there, who’s senior, to step back and do everything I can to help the institution be better, and also help the person be better.”
Q: What about what happened to Justin Jones?
JD: “I repudiate that behavior. I think that that was wrong. I’m not justifying any of this. I’m simply saying if I had an opportunity to deal with that young activist, I’m proud of him. I marched with Dr. King. I was there when he made his last speech. I dodged a billy club and dogs on Beale Street. So don’t think for one second that I don’t understand the wrong on that side also. I do. And I would love to have an opportunity to talk to that young man because I’m proud of his bravery. But I’m simply saying whoever I get a chance to talk to, I’m going to do what I can to be encouraging. And I hope this young man doesn’t stop being active and vocal.”
Q: Do you feel that the sentiment that we saw, that we witnessed in those private conversations has echoed in some of the legislation that’s been passed this session? For instance the Voter Registration Criminalization bill?
JD: “I think what we have seen in America, and in Tennessee, is a resurgence of the ugly head of prejudice and bigotry and speech that does not necessarily build the country. For the sake of the world America has to be strong, and we’re never strong when we come after each other the way we’ve done the past several years. People think it’s in style to say things that were not in style in the 70’s and 80’s after the Civil Rights movement… for some reason some think that it’s ok. So if our legislation reflects that, that’s something we’re going to have to step back and take a look at. The thing about the legislature is it’s dynamic. We’ve straightened up a bunch of messes over the years. And if we have to go back and re-examine some of the legislation, and stand and fight and make sure it does not work against activists like that young man or the nation as a whole I think most of us are ready to do that without apology and without shame.”
Holler at Rep. Deberry HERE.

PROMINENT REPUBLICANS SAY CASADA SHOULD STEP DOWN

The breaking news has been spewing forth like a powerful stream of urine on a legislator who opposes Speaker Casada’s seat lately (yes, that happened)…

…so we wanted to bring you up to speed on who has – and has not – had the courage to say Speaker Casada should resign.

The list of transgressions that have marred Casada’s tenure as Speaker is long, and includes, lying, spying, racism, sexism, fraud, bribery, drugs, house arrest, and protecting child sex abusers to name a few (not to mention peeing on people’s chairs).

Here’s who has come forward to speak up… most notably, GOVERNOR LEE has now said if Casada worked for him he would ask him to resign.

Lt. Governor Randy McNally said “if I was in that deep of water I’d pack up my bags and go home.”

Rep. Jeremy Faison says Casada is “complicit with racism” and should step down as speaker and give Williamson County a chance to send him home altogether… and radio host Phil Valentine says he can’t believe he hasn’t resigned yet, and is angry Casada blatantly lied on his show:

The Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association says Casada “willfully lied” and “should step down”:


Knox County’s Republican Mayor says it’s time for him to go:

House Majority Whip Rick Tillis (who may have been running an anonymous twitter account to shed light on the goings-on inside the legislature, and who may have had his office chair pissed on as a result) spoke out…


…Rep. Sam Whitson said Casada should step down also…


as did Rep. Hawk… Senator Marsha Blackburn called it “disgusting”… Rep. Patsy Hazelwood seemed to open the door to change… as did Senator Massey…


and Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Bill Dunn.

And of course, many Democrats have said it’s time for him to go as well (still no word from Rep. John Deberry though).

Those who have come out in support of Casada despite everything that has happened include: Rep. Andy Holt, Rep. Susan Lynn, Rep. Ron Travis, Rep. Mike Sparks, Rep. Micah Van Huss, Rep. Matthew Hill, Rep. Bud Hulsey, and the Williamson County Republican Party.

Do you know of anyone we’ve left out? Holler at us HERE: thetnholler@gmail.com

In the meantime, #ResignCasada.

VIDEO: Dems Call for Multiple Investigations Into Casada

First it was the Black Caucus calling for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the racist texts and possible falsification of evidence coming out of Speaker Casada’s office.

Watch the VIDEO:

Now today, in response to reports of Speaker Casada spying on Democrats in the legislature through a surveillance system, Democrats have called for the U.S. Attorneys office to look into that.

Watch the VIDEO:

Casada Talks To Phil Valentine, Defends Racist Staffer, Calls Out Phil Williams

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.

Valentine asks:

“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:

Valentine:

“The text messages – You’ve seen those. Are they real?”

Casada:

“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:

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.

Questions remain:

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.”

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).

Casada:

“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.

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.”

In a truth-off between Glen Casada and Phil 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