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REVEALED: House Speaker Cameron Sexton, lawmakers appear before federal grand jury

Posted: 1:41 PM, Mar 28, 2022
Updated: 2022-03-29 19:33:31-04
Cameron Sexton Outside US Courthouse.jpg
Cameron Sexton grand jury.jpg

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton and a number of other Republican lawmakers testified Monday afternoon before a federal grand jury looking into corruption on Capitol Hill.

Sexton, R-Crossville, arrived at the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Nashville shortly before 1 p.m. Monday, just a few minutes after director of legislative administration Connie Ridley. Both had been subpoenaed to appear.

The House speaker appeared before the grand jury for about 25 minutes.

"Today, my role is to provide factual information, to be a factual witness, which I happily did, and answered all the questions under oath, which I was happy to do," Sexton said, declining to detail specifics about the grand jury's inquiry.

It is believed that the grand jury is focused on a shadowy company that handled political and taxpayer-funded mailings for Republican lawmakers in 2020.

Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, recently resigned and pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges, admitting that she and former House Speaker Glen Casada received "kickbacks" in exchange for steering business to that company, Phoenix Solutions.

Phoenix Solutions was secretly controlled by longtime Casada aide Cade Cothren, federal prosecutors say.

Ridley, who processed claims for reimbursement filed by Phoenix Solutions, was inside the grand jury room for 18 minutes.

Former Casada aide Holt Whitt testified for about 18 minutes, as well.

Also testifying were Reps. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain; Esther Helton, R-East Ridge; Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport; and Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville — each of them testified for just 7-to-9 minutes.

"It's unfortunate that the actions of a few have brought this kind of attention to the Tennessee General Assembly, but we hope for a quick resolution just like everybody else," Zachary said.


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