Former Top Casada Aide Cites Fifth Amendment Rights In Refusing Subpoena

Photo: Tennessee State Capitol building (Nashville, Tennessee) Photo Credit: cmh2315fl / CC

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Cade Cothren, who once served as a top aide for former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, opted not to show before a state ethics and campaign finance panel on Wednesday. The panel is auditing a series of questionable actions taken by a political action committee affiliated with Casada.

In January, the Registry of Election Finance decided to reevaluate an audit of the Faith Family Freedom Fund PAC. This decision was made after Sydney Friedopfer, the treasurer of the PAC, stated under oath that she was directed by Cothren to open the PAC but then did not have any additional involvement in it.

The registry issued subpoenas to a number of different individuals who potentially had information about the PAC. Those individuals included Cothren, Casada, Representative Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill-District 92), Representative Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro-District 37), and former Representative Rick Tillis.

According to a report from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Cothren’s lawyer sent a letter stating that he refused the subpoena, citing his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. After his failure to show before the board on Wednesday, the board asked District Attorney General Glenn Funk’s office to enforce the subpoena.


Casada did speak before the panel and objected to the use of a subpoena to interview the individuals.

“It allowed the media to assume the worst and judge me,” Casada said. “Call us first, and then if we don’t come, subpoena us.”

Henry Fincher, the House Democratic Caucus appointee to the registry, responded that subpoenas were not the panel’s first choice but that they helped to show just how serious the allegations against Casada are.

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The subpoenas are just another step in the ongoing investigation of the legislators.

Federal agents raided the offices of several legislators, as well as the homes of Casada, Warner, Cothren, and others. Cothren had previously lost his job in Casada’s office after a scandal in which he was accused of sending racist and sexist text messages and admitted to using illegal drugs in the legislative building.

Casada resigned as House Speaker amid the investigation, but he remains in his position as a state representative. He has said that he does not plan to run for reelection but will run for Williamson County Clerk instead.

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

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