NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - House Speaker Glen Casada's request for an opinion from the House Ethics Committee is being criticized.

In a letter to Republican lawmakers, State Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) said Casada is trying to "rig and predetermine an outcome."

“Don’t you think if you walk in to a set of facts and an opinion already drafted for your signature, is that not a predetermined outcome?," Carter said.

The opinion centers around how Speaker Casada handled the resignation of his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren.

Cothren is accused of sending racist and vulgar text messages.

The opinion requires six signatures from the ten-person bipartisan committee.

On the other side of the aisle, State Rep. Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory) told News4 he has some serious concerns.

“I think he frankly wanted to use the committee to fill a narrative to his membership and the caucus to say ‘see, I’ve been cleared by the ethics committee’ and that’s not what the committee is used for," Jernigan said.

His concerns surround the questions the committee has to address.

“The questions being asked were not factual or at least we knew either personal knowledge or in the public realm that’s different than what’s being asked," Jernigan said.

Jernigan told News4 he couldn't go into the details of the questions asked and what the draft opinion after being advised by legislative legal counsel.

TN House Speaker Glen Casada (on Breaking BG)

House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin)

“As I announced at the time as part of our action plan to address concerns, I requested that the ethics committee review and issue an advisory opinion regarding how I handled the resignation of my former Chief of Staff. I believe the process is fair and allows for a committee composed equally of Republicans and Democrats to review a situation and offer their guidance. I have not seen any of the work completed by the Ethics Committee and I await their final determination," Speaker Casada said in a statement.

Carter said he tried to change the draft opinion. He wanted Casada to state under oath the facts presented were true, but was told that wasn't going to happen.

“This showed an effort to subvert justice to game the system.”

An email obtained by News4 that was sent to all Republican lawmakers shows Casada was not happy with Carter's letter.

A piece of the email calls Carter's letter "nothing more than a deliberate attempt to mislead and an absolute disgrace from someone that should know better."

Speaker Casada also resigned from his position with Merck Pharmaceutical, according to the Speaker Casada's office.

According to Casada’s website, he has worked in veterinary pharmaceuticals since his graduation from Western Kentucky University in 1982.

Casada has been the center of several growing scandals in the past months, including one involving text messages he exchanged with former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren containing inappropriate comments about women.

He has also been outspoken in his support of Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, the subject of a News4 I-Team investigation. Three women have accused Byrd of sexual misconduct while they were teenagers on the Wayne County High School basketball team he coached more than 30 years ago.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Reporter

A graduate of the University of Florida, Cameron joined News4 in December 2018.

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