Moreland resigns after case sent to federal grand jury - WSMV Channel 4

Judge Moreland resigns after obstruction case sent to federal grand jury

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Judge Casey Moreland at his appearance in federal court on Friday. (Sketch: Mike Sowers) Judge Casey Moreland at his appearance in federal court on Friday. (Sketch: Mike Sowers)
Casey Moreland is being held at a jail in Kentucky. Casey Moreland is being held at a jail in Kentucky.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Davidson County General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland has resigned from his judicial post, according to his attorneys.

The announcement was made during court after his obstruction case was bound over to a federal grand jury. The resignation is effective April 4.

A judge decided to allow pre-trial release to Moreland after the judge resigned.

Moreland's lawyers say their client was deeply affected by the "intolerable conditions" in solitary confinement since his arrest.

"In a room without a book, radio, television, no commissary,” said Peter Strianse, Moreland’s lawyer. “So those are really burdensome conditions."

His lawyers say the 59-year-old may have never been released if it weren't for the testimony of his wife Jackie, who they say "showed strength and dedication to her family and husband" by speaking in court and agreeing to serve as a third party custodian for her husband.

“I think it was especially hard to get up and talk publicly about their private lives and what has transpired in their public lives, which is traditionally private for everybody else,” said Worrick Robinson, Moreland’s lawyer. “But she had the courage and strength to get on the stand. I think that helped tremendously today."

The Morelands are expected to go to their house in Old Hickory. He will be equipped with a monitoring device next week.

Conditions of Moreland's release including surrendering his passport and to have no contact with witnesses. He will not be allowed to go outside Tennessee. He will be able to go to church, to visit his doctor and to clean out his office.

Moreland, dressed in a green jumpsuit and shackles, was flanked by his attorneys, Peter Strianse and Worrick Robinson.

The prosecution has played four audio recordings during the hearing.

In the first call, CS1, who is working with the FBI, told Moreland he would meet with CS2 about trying to convince Natalie Amos to sign an affidavit saying she lied to Channel 4. Moreland promised on the call to give CS1 the numbers, Amos' license plate and registration, for the alleged scheme of planting drugs on her to discredit her.

In the second call, Moreland gave CS1 the first three numbers on the license plate. The FBI confirmed he later provided the last three digits.

In the third call, CS1 called Moreland while pretending to meet with CS2 and Natalie. He said Natalie wanted to cross out certain items on the affidavit. That's when Moreland said "We'll take care of whomever on the back end," meaning he's free to offer more money, per the FBI.

Moreland also wanted CS1 to make sure there was record of her reading and signing the document.  He says, "She does know she's got to read it out loud and you record her don't she?" said Moreland.

In the fourth call, CS1 called again during the same "meeting" and said Amos would sign the document as long as she got $1,000 more. Moreland agreed and tells CS1 to reply "I am sorry, never meant for this to happen, ain't my fault."

During cross-examination, Strianse focused on the legality of the affidavit Amos was given to sign.

Strianse also tried to hammer the point that the FBI had CS1 officially notarize a false signature on the affidavit. An FBI agent had signed as Amos.

The judge eventually told Strianse to drop the line of questioning, saying "You're beating a dead horse."

Strianse also questioned whether the FBI could prove Moreland was going to do something illegal with the affidavit.

Both sides agree it sounds like Moreland wanted to leak the affidavit to the media. Strianse asked is that's actually obstruction of the law.

The FBI said the affidavit significant because all prior statements can be used in official proceedings and it happened during the time of a criminal investigation.

Prosecutors are also going to play a video recording between the informant and Moreland.

Judge Casey Moreland will be seeing the legal system from the other side of the bench on Friday.

Moreland was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he interfered with criminal cases on behalf of a woman he had sexual relations with and others close to him.

The FBI says Moreland was also trying to bribe Amos, who was interviewed by the Channel 4 I-Team. Moreland allegedly tried getting her to take back her claims that he traded legal favors for sex.

The feds say Moreland was also working with an informant to have an officer plant drugs on Amos in an attempt to discredit her.

In a new document filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office on Friday, officials say that they found a list in Moreland's iPhone called "witnesses," with 13 names and phone numbers. This implies that he might try to tamper with more witnesses. Read the full document here.

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell sent a letter to Chris Craft, the chairman of the Board of Judicial Conduct, and Michael King, chair of the Board of Professional Responsibility, asking that both boards "will act promptly and judiciously" regarding Moreland.

"Tennesseans expect and deserve their judiciary to act in a fair and impartial manner, and the troubling accusations against Mr. Moreland are clearly contrary to these expectations," Harwell wrote in her letter.

The Davidson County legislative delegation has also called on Moreland to resign his judgeship.

"By remaining on the bench he threatens the integrity of our courts," the delegation said in a release from the group.

The Board of Judicial Conduct will no longer be investigating Moreland since he has resigned.

"Upon the resignation of General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland, the Board loses jurisdiction over any complaints which may be pending against him, as the most serious punishments the Board can give are suspension or request of the General Assembly to remove the judge from office," Craft said in a statement. "In the case of the resignation of a judge who has a pending complaint or investigation, on behalf of the Board I write that judge a letter giving notice that even though the complaint will have to be dismissed because the judge has removed himself or herself from office, the Board will keep the complaint and results of its investigation on file in case the judge ever again files for election or applies for appointment to another judicial position. In such a case, the complaint or complaints will be revived and the investigation resumed."

Starting Monday, Moreland's docket will be covered by another General Sessions judge.

On Thursday, Judge Gale Robinson said the following:

The citizens of Nashville-Davidson County can be assured that it is of the utmost importance that their cases are heard by a current elected judge. It is the position of the General Sessions Court judges that those cases will continue to be timely and fairly heard without delay.

Channel 4 will be in court for Moreland's hearing on Friday. Stay with WSMV.com for updates.

Click here to see all of the Channel 4 I-Team's investigations on Moreland.

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