Rep. Jeremy Durham releases letter explaining actions

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – State Rep. Jeremy Durham released a seven-page letter he wrote to fellow lawmakers where he stated he will not be attending this week’s special session.

In the letter, Durham addresses policies he believes were broken regarding the sexual harassment allegations he faces and a scathing report the attorney general released earlier this year.

“I have tried to maintain my silence in hopes of protecting my family and avoiding and further distractions to my colleagues,” he wrote. “My sole motivation in this letter is to maintain my innocence, stand on the constitutional conservative principles I took an oath and was duly elected to defend, while protecting due process rights for both myself and future members.”Click here to read the full letter.

Shortly after Rep. Durham’s letter went out, the 70-plus Republican Caucus members briefly met to answer questions about how an expulsion of the Williamson County lawmaker might proceed.

“A motion is expected this afternoon,” House Speaker Beth Harwell told News 2.

She added the likely scenario will be that once the motion is made, time would be set aside Tuesday with a rebuttal from Rep. Durham if he chooses.

Speaker Harwell said they will proceed with the expulsion motion if Durham chooses not to come to the House with the rebuttal or formal response.

House Clerk Joe McCord said 66 votes would be needed for him to be expelled, which would make him the first Tennessee lawmaker expelled in 36 years.

State Rep. Rick Womick files complaints against Harwell

Later Monday, Rep. Rick Womick, of Rockvale, filed five ethics complaints against Speaker Harwell stemming from her actions over the Durham situation.

Womick says Harwell “abused her position and influence”… “to unilaterally initiate and conduct an unauthorized and unconstitutional investigation of a publicly elected representative of the Tennessee House of Representatives.”

The complaint states all investigations to member misconduct or inappropriate behavior are required to be conducted by the House Ethics Committee–and nowhere in the state’s constitution or rules of order does Speaker of the House “have the authority to conduct an independent investigation of a sitting member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.”Click here for complete coverage of Jeremy Durham. 

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