published Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Tennessee House resolution to gain TBI files on Bebb investigation stalls in late bills committee

Craig Fitzhugh
Craig Fitzhugh
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — A resolution directing state investigators turn over their files of their probe into allegations against 10th District Attorney Steve Bebb was blocked this afternoon in the House Late Bills Committee.

The panel was considering a dozen or so late bills and resolutions when House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said he would not agree to any of them.

Fitzhugh said he was not singling out any particular late bill or resolution but felt all should have been filed earlier.

The three-member committee is comprised of Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and Fitzhugh. While Fitzhugh said he planned to abstain on all of the measures, House Clerk Joe McCord said it requires affirmative votes from all three members for a measure to proceed.

House officials now are consulting with legal staff to see what steps to take. McCormick said that could include going to the House floor to suspend the rules and allow the introduction of all the measures, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation documents relating to its recent probe of Bebb.

Or, McCormick said, it could be that the House Judiciary Committee has the authority to subpoena the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s file on Bebb without House Resolution 60.

The resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, as well as Judiciary Committee Chairman Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, left the committee without comment.

The Senate is expected to take up its own resolution to obtain the Bebb investigation file this afternoon.

The effort to obtain the TBI’s investigation files on Bebb comes after Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper on March 25 released his long-awaited report on Bebb and alleged misconduct in the 10th Judicial District.

In his report, Cooper criticized Bebb’s office for poor judgment, mismanagement and deficient record keeping but said he found no prosecutable evidence against him on allegations of prosecutorial and financial misconduct, speaking untruthfully under oath and other offenses.

Most of those allegations were reported by the Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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