There’s a new chapter in the federal corruption case of former Judge Casey Moreland that sounds more like an X-rated novel.
Moreland entered a guilty plea in federal court on five counts for attempting to bribe his former lover and embezzling money from the Davidson Co. Drug Court Foundation on Thursday.
The former judge was arrested after a News4 I-Team investigation last year.
Moreland pled guilty as part of a deal with federal officials. It's unclear at this time what the deal entails, but it is expected he will be sentenced to less than four years in prison. Moreland will be sentenced in August.
“I think after he was arrested the second time at the end of February this year, the die was kind of cast," Moreland's attorney Peter Strianse said. "We need to look for a way to try to resolve this case. To where he could get some control over the situation. “
News4 had the only interview with Natalie Amos, who told us she was the judge’s lover and that he intervened in her case.
Moreland was caught by the FBI trying to set up Amos on a phony drug charge.
Moreland had no idea his life was about to unravel when the News4 I-team first asked him about Amos in early 2016.
"I feel like I'm in front of a firing squad," the judge said after inviting I-Team reporters Nancy Amons and Jeremy Finley to approach the bench.
The I-Team had been looking into the death of Belle Meade socialite Leigh Terry, who committed suicide not long after returning from an out-of-state trip with Moreland, his friend attorney Bryan Lewis, and Amos.
Amos told the detectives investigating Terry’s suicide that her friend had threatened to expose something she knew about Lewis and Moreland.
During the investigation, Amos revealed to detectives that she and Moreland had a sexual relationship.
Amos also told detectives that her friend Leigh Terry had sex with the judge to get out of her own DUI charge.
Amos also told her story to the News4 I-Team’s Nancy Amons.
Amos shared racy texts she said were between herself and the judge. Some were written while he was sitting on the bench.
She also told the I-Team that Moreland had done favors for her; he helped her get traffic tickets dismissed, and erased court fines from her DUI case.
"I mean my $1,200 was just gone," Amos told News4.
We verified her story that Moreland made a phone call to police after Amos was stopped and police discovered that she was driving with a revoked license. The police let her drive away.
In a text, Amos thanked the judge. He responded, "just used my superpowers."
Amos said they had sex in his office later that afternoon.
Moreland texted her the next day that "my desk still has butt marks on it."
In March 2017, federal prosecutors played a bombshell recording in court.
The FBI had wired an informant and recorded a conversation he had with Moreland.
Moreland is heard on the recording discussing a plan to hire someone in law enforcement to pull Amos over, after having drugs planted on her.
According to a federal indictment, Moreland also planned to offer Amos a bribe of more than $5,000 to say she lied to News4.
Jack Smith prosecuted the case for the US Attorney’s Office.
"Let me be clear. The allegations in the complaint set forth egregious abuses of power by a sitting judge here in Nashville," Smith said in a news conference after Moreland was arrested.
Moreland was out on bond after being charged with obstruction of justice for intimidating Amos, who was a potential federal witness in his corruption probe.
The judge’s freedom ended abruptly when the FBI caught him on a tape for the second time. It involved Nan Casey.
She was in charge of the judge's drug court treatment program.
Casey has entered a plea of guilty on charges that she skimmed fees paid in cash by clients in treatment. She said she gave half the money to Moreland.
She wore a wire to a lunch meeting in March 2018.
Casey and the judge discussed what she should say to the grand jury.
Casey: "..if this comes out, I'll - my life's gonna be destroyed."
Moreland: "There's no way it'll come out. Unless you say something."
Casey was expected to be a witness against Moreland in his trial, which was scheduled for June.
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