Just days after federal authorities arrested former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long, the government’s confidential informant who helped make their case was indicted in state court for writing thousands of dollars in worthless checks, according to documents filed in federal court here.
The documents, Mr. Long’s defense attorney Jerry Summers says, further prove that informant the Rev. Eugene Overstreet is a “shady character” who manipulated Mr. Long into committing the crimes that could land him in a federal prison for at least 10 years when he is sentenced Oct. 27.
“The defendant believes this information is relevant to the manipulative tendencies and dishonesty of the government witness and should be considered by the Court in resolving this issue,” Mr. Summers wrote in the documents filed Tuesday with the court.
The latest filing represents Mr. Summers’ continuing effort to convince a federal judge to give Mr. Long a lighter prison sentence based on what he says is the manipulative nature of Mr. Overstreet. Mr. Summers maintains that Mr. Overstreet’s character should be considered a mitigating factor and that Mr. Long never would have committed the crimes to which he pleaded guilty in May if Mr. Overstreet had not coerced him.
According to an affidavit signed by real estate appraiser Danny Mabee, Mr. Overstreet hired him to appraise his property at 4707 12th Ave. in 2003. Mr. Overstreet paid him $11,000 in checks that he never could cash, Mr. Mabee said, because Mr. Overstreet had closed the bank account on which the checks were drawn.
Mr. Overstreet was ordered in early 2007 to pay restitution in the amount of $230 a month, but Mr. Mabee said, “I have received only four to five checks,” according to the affidavit.
Mr. Summers already has filed a number of examples of behavior he believes illustrates Mr. Overstreet’s character, including minutes from Chattanooga City Council meetings in which Mr. Overstreet promised to donate $100,000 to local schools and didn’t, talked badly about the FBI before working for that agency, and told others that former President Bill Clinton was his personal friend.
Mr. Summers said today’s court filing represents “the last attack on the credibility of the government’s witness.” He said he now plans to concentrate on Mr. Long’s record as a man who led a good life until Mr. Overstreet roped him into illegal activities that included extortion of local convenience store owners and fake drug deals set up by the FBI.