Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd's defense attorney wants East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert to come clean about some campaign contributions he received in 2017 from local developers.
According to two subpoenas filed Tuesday, attorney Lee Davis is trying to get Lambert and the East Ridge keeper of records to bring any bank statements, phone records or emails related to those contributions to Boyd's upcoming motion-to-dismiss hearing in Hamilton County Criminal Court. Boyd is charged with extortion.
In his subpoenas, Davis seems to be homing in on three $1,000 donations Exit 1 developers gave Lambert in the summer of 2017, just days after the East Ridge City Council approved more than $4 million in bonds for an infrastructure project.
"Please provide copies of checks for any campaign contributions/donations written to the campaign of Brent Lambert from any real estate developer which includes but is not limited to John Healy, Ethan Wood and Matt Wood, or from any business in which they have an interest therein, from Jan. 1, 2017, to the present," the subpoena says.
Davis also asked for a copy of a 2006 East Ridge ethics ordinance that says a city official may not accept gifts that "might reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to influence his action, or reward him for a past action."
Davis declined to comment Thursday on the content of the subpoenas, citing the ongoing criminal extortion case against Boyd, who faces two to four years in prison if convicted for the Class D felony. Last week, he filed a motion to dismiss, saying Boyd's behavior falls under protected political speech. Andrew Freiberg, a specially appointed judge from Bradley County, Tenn., is scheduled to hear more argument on June 5.
"We sent those subpoenas because this is the type of case where many documents would not be in the DA's file," Davis said. "So we have gone to the source of where the documents would probably be."
Lambert did not respond to a request for comment, but he previously told the Times Free Press those contributions were unrelated to the bond issue. He added that the East Ridge council voted frequently on issues related to Exit 1. Between now and June 5, Lambert and his attorneys can file a motion to kill the subpoena.
Lambert said Boyd threatened to release negative information about him during three phone calls in February — unless Lambert dropped out of the District 8 Hamilton County Commission race. Boyd, while under indictment, defeated Lambert in that race earlier this month.
Lambert said he recorded their first conversation on Feb. 16 to have a witness. Then he went to Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston with his complaint, had a sitdown with a local Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent, and recorded two more calls on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21.
Pinkston asked the TBI to look into possible extortion, according to documents his office provided to the Times Free Press. Prosecutors then secured an indictment against Boyd in early April, the day before early voting started.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeter firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.