Federal Judge Delays Sentencing Of Ex-State Rep. Robin Smith Until 2024

Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

According to a court order issued last Wednesday, former state Representative Robin Smith will not face criminal sentencing for her role in a scheme to defraud state lawmakers through taxpayer funded mailers until January 2024 “at the very earliest.”

U.S. District Court Judge Eli Richardson made the decision to agree to the request made by Smith’s attorneys. In their request, the lawyers noted that Smith has already resigned from her seat in public office and has pleaded guilty for her participation in the scheme. She is also set to testify as a cooperating witness for the federal government in their case against “multiple others.”

Smith took a plea deal back in March, acknowledging that she was guilty of honest services fraud through her part in an alleged plan conspiracy involving bribery and kickbacks. According to indictments and Smith’s statements, former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada and Cade Cothren, who at one time served as Casada’s chief of staff, were allegedly key players in a scheme to bring financial gain to themselves at the expense of the public. Smith’s plea deal included an agreement to testify in the trial against Casada and Cothren.

Both Casada and Cothren have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys originally asked for the trial to be delayed for six months, but Judge Richardson extended that delay for a full year. That trial is scheduled to take place on October 3, 2023.

Because of that extension, Smith’s attorneys requested that the sentencing of Smith also be delayed to allow her to fully participate in that trial.

“As such, the defendant and the government suggest that the sentencing hearing in this case be projected to the end of January of 2024, at the very earliest, given the projected length of the Casada case with multiple defendants,” they wrote in their filing. “Counsel for the government has advised that it does not object to the filing of this motion or the relief sought herein.”

Smith previously served as a chairwoman for the Tennessee Republican Party and was a political consultant and a vendor for campaign mail distribution. She is accused of working with Casada and Cothren to fraudulently create Phoenix Solutions, LLC, a company based out of New Mexico. Cothren allegedly headed up the company under the alias of Matthew Phoenix but shared profits with Casada and Smith, as the company solicited reimbursements from the Tennessee General Assembly’s taxpayer-supported constituent mail program.

The group allegedly used the fake identity to avoid making Cothren’s role as the vendor known because of his part in an earlier scandal involving Casada. Casada spent a brief time in his seat as House Speaker in 2019 but resigned after an outside party leaked racist and sexist texts between Casada and Cothren. At the time, Casada was allowed to remain in the legislature but was forced to step down as speaker, but Cothren left his employment with the state altogether.

Indictments show that the group took in nearly $52,000 in public monies. Those indictments also state that emails among the three detail each person’s participation in the scheme.

Smith also utilized Phoenix for her personal political action committee and sought to get the House Republican Caucus to approve Phoenix as one of its vendors for the 2020 elections. Not all of the GOP Caucus members were in agreement, but the measure was approved.

Smith is being represented by Ben Rose, an attorney from Brentwood, along with David Bridgers and Wells Trompeter from Waller Law in Nashville.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

2 thoughts on “Federal Judge Delays Sentencing Of Ex-State Rep. Robin Smith Until 2024

  • October 11, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    It seems Ms. Smith will have to wait a while for her slap on the wrist.

  • October 12, 2022 at 2:15 am

    Cassada has been implicated in the scheme, why not pressured to step down? Stepping down from a prestigious position but remaining in office?


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