Tennessee Black Caucus wants federal investigation into email sent to Nashville DA

Posted at 12:48 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 13:48:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The legislature's Black Caucus is asking for an investigation into whether Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada's office tried to frame a young activist who had challenged Republican lawmakers during this year's legislative session.

Earlier this week, the caucus renewed demands that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation step into the controversy involving House Speaker Glen Casada and his now-former chief of staff Cade Cothren. Caucus leaders said they want the TBI to look into an email that Cothren sent to the Nashville DA's office back in March that resulted in an effort to revoke the bond of student activist Justin Jones.

Caucus leaders held another news conference on Friday, saying they are "disgusted by the situation on Capitol Hill."

Caucus chair Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) said they've drafted a letter to the Department of Justice, calling for an investigation into possible criminal and civil violations of Jones’ constitutional rights.

Jones sent an email to Casada's office on February 25. Three days later, he was arrested for allegedly throwing a cup onto Casada's elevator and ordered to have no contact with the House Speaker. Cothren then provided a screenshot to the DA of that same email with a March 1st date.

Casada's office has blamed a computer glitch for the discrepancy.

A NewsChannel 5 investigation also revealed Cothren bragging about his use of illegal drugs and engaging in vulgar conversations about women with his boss. In response, Casada announced the formation of an action plan to be executed by multiple legislative entities, including members of his own staff and the House Ethics Committee.