A formal complaint has been filed against Davidson County General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland and attorney Bryan Lewis.
The complaint was filed anonymously with both the Board of Judicial Conduct, which has the power to discipline judges, and the Board of Professional Responsibility, which can discipline attorneys.
The complaint, obtained by Channel 4, alleges “serious misconduct” by Moreland and Lewis. It includes a copy of a Metro police investigative report into the death of a woman, Leigh Terry, who police concluded committed suicide after returning from a trip with Lewis and Moreland last year.
The complaint cites a Channel 4 I-Team investigation into the events in the days before Terry killed herself, and threats she reportedly made to her traveling companions threatening to expose a judge and lawyer.
As the I-Team first reported Tuesday, the police investigation began after Terry’s body was found May 26, 2016, in her apartment in downtown Nashville.
Terry was last seen in security camera footage from the elevator of the Stahlman building.
Police said that the night of May 4, 2016, Terry walked her dog Lana one last time, went into her ninth floor apartment alone, then shot and killed herself.
A detective's investigation would discover Terry had returned just a few days earlier from a trip to Mobile, AL.
Natalie Amos was on that trip. What was supposed to be a fishing weekend ended prematurely for Terry, eyewitnesses told police. Terry kept arguing with her companions - especially Bryan Lewis - the man police would discover was paying her rent at the Stahlman. Lewis told police during a recorded interview that they were "friends with benefits."
Amos told police Terry had threatened to expose an affair between Terry and Lewis and threatened to divulge something she had recently seen on Lewis' computer.
"She threatened him. ‘The gig's over, you're done,’ and she threatened him. And she's like, ‘The gig's up,’ and she said, ‘I'm not talking about your wife,’" Amos told Channel 4.
During her recorded interview with police, Amos at first didn't want to reveal who was on the trip. The detective pressed her, saying, “I need to know who we're talking about." Amos answered, "Casey Moreland."
Judge Casey Moreland is a close friend of attorney Bryan Lewis.
The detectives’ report contains allegations made by interviewees about Moreland.
During the investigation into Terry's death, allegations were made by Amos and two of Terry's former boyfriends whose interviews are in the police file.
All three said Terry claimed she had had sex with Moreland in exchange for a lighter sentence on a DUI case.
"She was like, ‘Natalie, I was out of options. It was that, or I was looking at serious jail time,’" Amos told Channel 4.
The I-Team was not able to independently confirm the allegation.
Court records show that Moreland was not the judge when Terry's charges were reduced. Moreland's stamp appears on the document which apparently cut her probation short by a few months.
Amos had a history of her own drunk-driving charges.
She said that in 2015, she was struggling to pay her fines, which totaled approximately $1,200. She said she mentioned it to her friend, Leigh Terry.
“And she says, 'Well, I can call Casey.' And I was like, ‘Casey?' She says, ‘Judge Moreland,'" Amos said.
The three met at Pinewood Social, Amos said. She said she was hoping to get more time to pay the fines, since she was working.
"I was honest with him. I told him I had procrastinated, I've been calling and I'm kind of screwed here, I just need four weeks and I can pay this off. He's just writing and not saying anything. And I'm like, ‘So if you could just tell me who to call, it would be so helpful.’ And he said, ‘That's what I'm doing.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I'm sorry. I'll be quiet.’ And he said, ‘Just text me the information,’ and I did. And I really just thought I was going to get an extension, and it just went away," Amos told Channel 4.
The court's computer system shows that on July 14, 2015, Amos’ fines were all waived. She had been declared an indigent. She didn't have to pay anything, even though she had a job.
Forgiving fines isn't that unusual. In fact, the I-Team reported in August 2015 about how many fines Judge Moreland waived.
But there's a process. Someone fills out a yellow form listing their income, then the judge reviews it, and says yes or no.
Amos said she never went to court and never filled out the form.
"No, no, nothing. And I didn't even know about that until, like, today,” Amos said.
Amos' name doesn’t appear on the court docket for that day. There is an undated motion for indigency in Amos’ court file. It was signed only by Judge Casey Moreland.
Later, Amos said she thanked the judge by text message. She showed the I-Team a message she said Moreland sent in return:
"Your fees; fines and court cost are taken care of! You now officially owe me !! Haha" the text read.
"When I got that text, I was like, OK, a-ha, I see," Amos said.
She said she didn't play ball and that there was no quid pro quo, but she said she and Moreland did have an intimate relationship later.
Text messages Amos showed the I-Team indicate she and Moreland exchanged sexually suggestive texts until just a few months ago.
The I-Team has asked Judge Moreland for an interview about the Alabama trip, about Leigh Terry and about Natalie Amos. At first, Moreland said he would look for an opening on his calendar, but later declined an on-camera interview.
Moreland did sent a statement to the Nashville Scene, regarding Leigh Terry and Natalie Amos, in which he wrote, "At no time did I intervene on their behalf during or after judgments were rendered by the appropriate courts."
The statement to the Scene went on to say, "while I had limited acquaintance with both Ms. Terry and Ms. Amos, I have never had an improper relationship with either of them."
As our investigative series continues Friday, you’ll read more of the text messages Amos said she and Moreland exchanged, including times when Moreland was in court.
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