NASHVILLE — The Senate Judiciary Committee next week will consider a resolution directing the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to hand over all documents pertaining to the agency’s probe of allegations against 10th District Attorney General Steve Bebb.
“I filed this resolution purely out of an abundance of caution,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, told the Times Free Press today. “There obviously is a very public report that’s been made by the state attorney general [Bob Cooper].”
Kelsey noted Cooper decided there were no grounds for prosecuting Bebb after the four-month TBI investigation.
The resolution notes that Article VI, Section 6 of the Tennessee Constitution "confers upon the General Assembly the exclusive authority to remove judges and attorneys for the state for cause."
Allegations about misconduct in the 10th Judicial District include abuse of prosecutorial authority, unauthorized disclosure of TBI investigative records to a Drug Task Force higher-up who had held his wife at home while firing his high-powered, semi-automatic service rifle repeatedly through the ceiling, making false statements under oath and Bebb’s improper use of a Drug Task Force vehicle while filing for state travel reimbursements.
Cooper did criticize Bebb’s office for poor judgment, mismanagement and deficient record keeping.
“Certainly we respect the attorney general’s opinion and decision on this issue, and we just want out of an abundance of caution make sure that we have full information in the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Kelsey said.
As part of the panel’s oversight role, Kelsey said “we need to be ensuring everyone in the judicial branch is doing their job correctly.”
Earlier today, Kelsey filed Senate Resolution 40. It says the General Assembly “cannot make an educated and informed decision with respect to whether it should pursue further action against District Attorney Bebb without inspecting the investigative files and other documents compiled and used by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Attorney General during the course of their investigation.”
The TBI investigated a number of allegations against Bebb, which had been previously reported in the Times Free Press, at Cooper’s request.
For complete coverage, see Thursday’s Times Free Press.
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, ...