Gloomy Day for Defense in Sunshine Trial
Stories with my name in italics above are ones written as a comparison to the KNS coverage. I write these as if I were a reporter for a paper, instead of a guy with an opinion and a laptop. They should be used to guage the accuracy of the KNS content, and with any luck, will be unbiased enough to show any bias in the KNS coverage.
The defense called Commissioner R. Larry Smith to testify today, and plaintiff's attorney Richard Hollow made the most of it. On direct examination by Knox County Chief Deputy Law Director Mary Ann Stackhouse, Smith detailed the extensive preparations he made for the appointments meeting held on the 31st of January, personally contacting over 70 interested applicants by phone. Hollow elicited even more detail on cross, getting into Smith's rating system, and his methods for evaluating applicants for all the seats. This made Smith's testimony that other commissioners "took the lazy way out" all the more devastating. Commissioner Smith went on to say that he nominated one candidate because he was "tired of family members being appointed to office."
Commissioner Smith was visibly angry at one point, when Herb Moncier, lawyer for the nine citizens who joined the KNS suit, informed him that a candidate selection committee selected their candidates without ever meeting with the public. "That was not how it (the selection committee) was represented to me. To me that’s not fair to the applicants."
While Smith had strong words for the behavior of the commissioners, his most damaging testimony came at the expense of Chairman Scott Moore, who testified earlier that he had no knowledge of Chucky Bolus's early swearing in. He testified that after the critical recess, as he returned to his seat, Moore told him, "We've got this taken care of now." He further testified that when he saw Bolus taking his seat, he knew exactly what the Chairman was talking about. Not only did this testimony directly conflict with Moore's, it also dovetailed with Commissioner Mark Harmon's testimony last week.
Commissioner Frank Leuthold and County Clerk Billy Tindell were also called to the stand, with their testimony mainly acting to confirm what was already presented. Court was adjourned early due to the regularly scheduled County Commission meeting this afternoon at 2:00pm. The defense case is expected to take the rest of the week, as Ms. Stackhouse has said she will call each commissioner to testify.
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