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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A past and present Metro Council member, along with a local prosecutor and public defender. are among the people who have already indicated an interest in being an interim replacement for Judge Casey Moreland who resigned Friday amid obstruction of justice charges.
“I already met with one potential candidate today and have another one tomorrow morning that’s coming to see me,” said Nashville Vice-Mayor David Briley, who will oversee the selection that will be voted on by the 40-member Metro Council on May 16.
Current Metro Council member Sam Coleman, assistant Metro District Attorney Ana Escobar, and former Metro Council member Adam Dread are those who have indicated an interest to News 2.
Assistant Public Defender Martesha Johnson has sent emails indicating her interest to various council members.
Vice-Mayor Briley says there will be more time and more input from Metro Council members in naming an interim replacement because of the circumstances surrounding Judge Moreland’s resignation.
Federal prosecutors indicated the obstruction of justice charges came during an ongoing FBI investigation of the judge allegedly trading judicial favors for sex.
Vice-Mayor Briley says the council naming a replacement has been a somewhat regular occurrence due to a judge’s health or leaving for other positions but nothing like Moreland’s case.
“I am going to make sure for this go-around, the Council spends probably more time than typical in selecting the interim replacement,” the Vice-Mayor told News 2. “Just because these circumstances might leave the public to have some distrust in the judiciary.”
Briley said the council should pick someone with the “highest ethical standards” to help repair any trust lost.
The vice mayor indicated there will be an extensive question an answer period for all judicial candidates during a hearing scheduled within the next few weeks.
A permanent replacement for Moreland will be selected by voters during next year’s primary and general Metro elections.
On a different front in the Moreland case, its likely that a federal grand jury will indict the judge who was released to home detention Friday after his resignation.
Rarely have cases that have been bound over a federal grand jury like Judge Moreland’s not led to an indictment.
“We dont know who else might be implicated in this case, maybe no one. Maybe other people,” says former Metro Deputy District Attorney Rob McGuire, who is now a defense attorney.
He said people should remember that Moreland’s obstruction of justice charges came during an ongoing FBI investigation of the judge allegedly trading judicial favors for sexual ones.
“So how those two things intersect, the new charges and then whatever else they are looking at, and whoever they are looking at are open questions right now,” he told News 2.
McGuire expects plea negotiations to be a possibility after the defense sees more evidence from prosecutors and if the U-S Attorney allows for such negotiations.