Tennessee judge facing federal charges resigns

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2017 7:27 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An embattled Tennessee judge who is facing charges after allegations surfaced that he helped a woman with her legal troubles in exchange for sex has stepped down from the bench.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/2ns5GTU ) reports that a lawyer announced in court Friday that Davidson County General Sessions Judge Cason "Casey" Moreland has resigned effective April 4.

The lawyer's comments came during a hearing for Moreland, who faces federal charges that he attempted to obstruct justice through bribery, witness tampering and retaliating against a witness.

A federal judge ruled that evidence showed there was probable cause to sustain the charges against Moreland. However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Brown ruled that he could be released from jail pending trial, with limitation.

A criminal complaint against Moreland showed that the judge learned in February that the FBI was investigating him for possible corruption. That investigation is centered on allegations that Moreland extorted sexual favors as well as travel and lodging in return for official acts, such as having fines dismissed for defendants.

A woman told the FBI that she believed Moreland offered to help her with her legal troubles with the expectation of getting sex in return and the two began a relationship in April of 2016. The woman told the FBI that Moreland helped her eliminate court costs and traffic ticket fines, got an interlock breathalyzer removed from her car, and aided her in avoiding a ticket for a suspended license during a traffic stop, the complaint states.

The judge is accused of trying to get an intermediary to pay the woman $6,100 for her to recant her statements against him. In a further attempt to insulate himself against charges, the complaint says, Moreland tried to ruin the woman's credibility by scheming to plant drugs on her and have a police officer pull her over on a traffic stop.

A message left after hours for an attorney for Moreland was not immediately returned.