Judge denies motion by Michael Cummins' defense team to dismiss lead prosecutor

Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 14:04:41-05

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Michael Cummins is accused of mass murder. He’s charged with killing eight people in 2019 — including several members of his own family in Sumner County.

Cummins' trial is set for this April — with an important hearing first on January 19. Prosecutors will argue he is mentally fit to be executed if convicted because they are seeking the death penalty.

However, Cummins' defense team filed a motion asking that lead prosecutor Eric Maudlin and the entire District Attorney's Office be disqualified from the case.

Why? The defense points to the fact — recently revealed — that Maudlin actually represented Cummins years ago before becoming a prosecutor. It was on an Order of Protection case and a drug case.

The defense argued that this is an obvious conflict of interest not only for Maudlin but for the entire office. The prosecutor argued that Maudlin had no memory of representing Cummins during his time as a public defender. Maudlin reported that he represented Cummins for only a few hours over a decade ago.

After hearing from both sides, Judge Dee Gay rules that Maudlin may remain on the case.

Prior to his decision, legal experts told NewsChannel 5 there is no way a lawyer can ethically defend a client and then later switch and prosecute the same person — especially in a death penalty case where there will be appeals.