Witnesses testifying before federal grand jury on Murray County judge allegations

Witnesses testifying before federal grand jury on Murray County judge allegations

October 2nd, 2012 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

Former Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran and Angela Garmley. Garmley's accusations against Cochran initiated a state investigation that led to the judge's resignation.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

A federal grand jury is hearing testimony today from witnesses about the allegations against former Murray County Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran, sources close to the case said this morning.

The same day as the hearing, Murray Count Superior Court Judges appointed Commissioner of Juvenile Justice Gale Buckner to replace Cochran as Chief Magistrate. Buckner, who is from Chatsworth, will assume the position Nov. 1.

According to a source who asked not to be named, Murray County Sheriff's Office employees were taken by bus to Atlanta this morning to testify of what they know about Cochran and the officers in the case who were fired for lying to state investigators.

State and federal investigators have been looking into allegations that Cochran solicited a woman for sex in his chambers and presigned warrants for later use by officers. They are also investigating whether the alleged victim, Angie Garmley, was set up by Murray County sheriff's employees when she was arrested on drug charges a day before Cochran resigned.

Prosecutors later dismissed the drug charges against Garmley, and the two officers who arrested her were fired.

Cochran's attorney Page Pate said he has been told that witnesses are testifying today, and he believes the testimony will clear the former judge of any charges.

When Cochran resigned in August, he admitted to signing warrants before officers requested them, but Pate later said the warrants were never used.

Cochran has denied trying to convince Garmley to have sex in his chambers.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.