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Deputy Gov's TBI File Subpoenaed

An old controversy could soon come back to haunt Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.

It involves information that the governor's office thought was going to be kept confidential.

Our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams has The Inside Story:

It's been two years since news broke about Tennessee's deputy governor, Dave Cooley, and the speeding ticket he got fixed.

A lot of the details never came out.

Video from inside a Highway Patrol vehicle shows Cooley's car after a trooper stopped him for speeding along I-24.

He was traveling 87 in a 70 miles per hour zone.

Later, a highway patrol supervisor got a judge to drop the ticket without Cooley ever having to go to court.

After the story got out, the governor asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate.

That investigation included interviews with everyone involved in the incident. And I'm told that it also uncovered internal memos and e-mail.

But the full TBI report was never released. 

By law, TBI files are confidential until they are turned over to a government agency that has to comply with the state's public records law.  Apparently, the state attorney general never gave the governor's office a copy -- which kept it from becoming a public record.

Now, attorneys for former Highway Patrol Lt. Bryan Farmer have subpoenaed the TBI's file on Cooley.

It's all part of Farmer's federal lawsuit over the highway patrol's promotions practices.

A subpoena obtained by NewsChannel 5 indicates that the TBI is supposed to turn over that file on Thursday.

Which means the contents could end up becoming very public -- although, as it turns out, it may not be until after November's election.

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