Feds Fight Cothren Effort To Quash Phone Search Warrant

Photo: Cade Cothren, former chief of staff to ex-House Speaker Glen Casada, leaving the federal courthouse in Nashville following his arraignment on conspiracy charges. Photo Credit: John Partipilo

By Sam Stockard [Tennessee Lookout -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0] –

U.S. attorneys are balking at an effort by former legislative staffer Cade Cothren to quash a search of cell phones agents seized in a “cyberstalking” case.

Prosecutors in a separate corruption case for Cothren and former House Speaker Glen Casada filed a motion with U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson claiming Cothren’s attempt to quash the search warrant for his phone is “misplaced.”

U.S. attorneys say he can’t challenge the constitutionality of a search warrant before law enforcement executes the warrant to check the phones and, also, that it should be directed at Judge Barbara Holmes who signed the warrants to seize the phones of Cothren, Brian Manookian and Republican activist Larry Grimes, all of whom have criticized House Speaker Cameron Sexton on social media.

In addition, the federal attorneys said the warrant authorizing a search of electronic devices “following a careful review by a filter team” can’t be described as an “emergency” for special treatment by the court. The U.S. attorneys also say Cothren doesn’t have standing to challenge the warrants.

Cothren filed the requests to stop the search of his phones after agents conducted raids early Jan. 30 and took electronic devices from him, Manookian and Grimes.

All three have said on social media he lives in Nashville instead of Crossville, where he officially resides, and targeted his personal life.

Cothren and Casada are set to go on trial March 5 after being indicted in a kickback scheme in which a secret vendor allegedly run by Cothren gave kickbacks to Casada and former Rep. Robin Smith for directing House Republicans’ business toward him. Cothren had to remain anonymous because he left his post as Casada’s chief of staff under a cloud. 

Smith pleaded guilty in the case and is set to testify against the pair. 

Federal prosecutors are seeking to postpone the trial until April or May so they can gather potential evidence from Cothren’s phone.

Sexton is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the case and could testify against Casada and Cothren.

About the Author: Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state’s best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association. Follow Stockard on Twitter @StockardSam

One thought on “Feds Fight Cothren Effort To Quash Phone Search Warrant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *