Newspaper article News Sentinel

County Mayor Burchett Denies Role in Ex-Wife's Prosecution ; Attorneys for Her Seek Files, Emails

Newspaper article News Sentinel

County Mayor Burchett Denies Role in Ex-Wife's Prosecution ; Attorneys for Her Seek Files, Emails

Article excerpt

The defense team for Knox County's former first lady wants to know what her ex-husband -- Mayor Tim Burchett -- has been saying to prosecutors seeking to convict her of cyberstalking the ex-wife of her current millionaire boyfriend.

The mayor's office says the answer to that is simple: Nothing.

On behalf of Allison Beaver Burchett, attorneys with the Nashville law firm Neal & Harwell who are now representing her, along with Knoxville defense attorney David Eldridge, earlier this month filed a request under Tennessee's Public Records Act seeking "any and all communications, on any date, in any and all formats" between Knox County prosecutors and the mayor.

Allison Beaver Burchett faces charges that include six counts of identity theft, six counts of unlawful access to a computer and one count of creating a fake document to influence the divorce battle between her accuser, Jo Nicole Velasco Strickland, and her live-in boyfriend, Michael Strickland. Her trial is set for January.

The September 2015 indictment came after a raid on the home Allison Beaver Burchett and Michael Strickland share as well as on the offices of Bandit Lites, a global industry leader in lighting for concerts and other entertainment events such as the Country Music Association Awards.

The records request does not list a reason for the inquiry into communications between the mayor and prosecutors, nor must it. Attorney Bill Ramsey of the Neal & Harwell firm did not immediately respond to a phone call Tuesday.

Knox County Law Director Richard "Bud" Armstrong said Tuesday his office "found nothing" in its search for any records documenting discussions between the mayor and prosecutors, although his staff are now searching through emails to see whether there are any the mayor might have been "copied on. …

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