Former sheriff Billy Long’s psychological profile soon will be public reading, a document his defense attorney has said will explain why Mr. Long “threw it all away” to commit the crimes that could land him in prison for at least 10 years.
“Mr. Long is capable of being manipulated” and the psychological evaluation proves that, defense attorney Jerry Summers has stated in separate court documents.
A court order issued late Thursday compels the psychological report to be “unsealed,” despite initial concerns by Mr. Summers that it should be kept private because it contains “sensitive” medical information.
And though U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Lee has given Mr. Summers an opportunity to oppose the order, he said Friday he plans to let the evaluation be put out in the open.
“We will not oppose the order,” Mr. Summers said. “At this stage in these matters in Billy Long’s life, being embarrassed is the least of his concerns.”
The report, which could be filed by Wednesday, is a win for the U.S. government since Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Humble had opposed keeping it under wraps.
“A strong public policy for transparency in criminal proceedings” calls for the exam to be made public, Mr. Humble said on Aug. 15 during Mr. Long’s latest court appearance.
However, a separate, contested document filed Friday will remain private, according to court order. Mr. Summers has sought to use the document, saying it has details of the “separate public corruption case” that apparently led the FBI to focus on Mr. Long’s criminal activities in the first place.
Mr. Humble could not be reached Friday for comment.
That investigation involved the same confidential informant — the Rev. Eugene Overstreet — who helped bring Mr. Long down over the course of a yearlong sting operation, Mr. Summers said. The public corruption case is still active and confidential, Mr. Summers said, but the details of it are crucial to getting a lighter federal prison sentence for his client.
“(The details of the investigation) bring the Rev. Eugene Overstreet’s credibility into issue,” Mr. Summers states in court documents.
The FBI in Chattanooga continues to “neither confirm nor deny” whether they are still engaged in the alleged public corruption investigation.
Virtually all the activity in Mr. Long’s case since he pleaded guilty in May has focused on laying the groundwork for why he doesn’t deserve to sit for years in prison for his crimes. Those included extortion, money laundering, orchestrating a drug deal and giving a gun to Mr. Overstreet, someone he knew to be a convicted felon.
An FBI investigation revealed Mr. Long took at least $23,000 in illegal payments resulting from shakedowns of local convenience store owners and drug trafficking. He also was videotaped hugging and laughing with Mr. Overstreet as they planned to smuggle in funeral urns from Mexico filled with what Mr. Long thought was profits from drug transactions.
In seeking to expose the mitigating factors that could help convince a federal judge of the defense’s position, Mr. Summers commissioned Mr. Long’s psychological profile, noting a medical doctor has examined Mr. Long on several occasions as he sits in jail.
Mr. Summers also is trying to open the psychological evaluation of Mr. Overstreet, claiming the informant’s “manipulative personality” is what convinced Mr. Long to participate in a staged drug deal in February. The deal would become his most serious crime and carry with it a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
U.S. District Judge Harry S. “Sandy” Mattice is expected to rule on the Mr. Overstreet’s evaluation sometime before the Oct. 27 sentencing date.