Lou Ann Zelenik may not have to face a contempt of court citation if she testifies in a state senator's lawsuit before August 8.
The ruling came down Monday from Wilson County Judge C.K. Smith who said in the order he's "not inclined to punish" the Republican Congressional candidate if she were to give her deposition by the August date.
Zelenik was accused last week of criminal contempt for not appearing for a July 12 court deposition.
She was subpoenaed in an ongoing lawsuit brought by State Senator Mae Beavers and her husband Jerry against a Macon County newspaper.
The couple, like Zelenik, put money into the newspaper.
The Beavers are suing to recover some of their money, but lawyers involved say the case hinges on whether the funds were an investment or a loan.
Zelenik is not a party to the lawsuit, but she was subpoenaed by the newspaper owner.
Zelenik claimed in court documents that she "wanted to know if [her July 12 deposition] could be reset after the Republican Primary...," but that's where piles of legal documents were filed and accusations flew.
In court filings, Zelenik's lawyer Lee Davies called the contempt citation "an effort to intimidate and harass Ms. Zelenik."
Davies upped the ante by calling for legal damages against the newspaper owner and her lawyer unless the contempt of court citation against the congressional candidate is dismissed.
Keith Williams, the newspaper owner's attorney, told Nashville's News 2 he wants Zelenik's testimony because "we believe she has critical information to the case."
He also said he wants it before he deposes Senator Beavers and her husband.
The court order indicates that Zelenik gets her initial wish not to testify before her August 2 primary against Rep. Diane Black, but she'll only get a few days.
Although the legal contempt issue seems to have some resolution, the issue is far from over.
Zelenik campaign spokesman Jay Heine told Nashville's News 2 "she will follow the law," but he still "wants apologies for the contempt order from the newspaper owner, her lawyer and political opponent Black."
Black campaign spokesperson Jennifer Coxe-Baker says it has "nothing to apologize for since it's not involved in the lawsuit."
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:07 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:07:37 GMT
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