A judge in Tennessee already accused of trading legal favors for sex is now facing new charges after he tried to cover up the crime, according to federal prosecutors.
Cason “Casey” Moreland — a former judge who heard civil, criminal and traffic cases in Nashville and Davidson counties — originally was indicted in April 2017 on five counts of obstruction of justice after a woman told a local news station that he helped her get out of paying traffic fines and court fees, as well as their alleged sexual relationship.
Court records cited by WSMV last year indicated that Moreland, 60, arranged to have $1,200 in court fine cleared from Natalie Amos’ debt and declared the woman unable to pay despite the fact that she was working at the time.
“I just really thought I was going to get an extension, and it just went away,” Amos told the station.
Amos said she met Moreland at a restaurant in Nashville and claimed she was not the only person involved in unseemly conduct with the judge, alleging that her friend Leigh Terry, who committed suicide a year earlier, also had a sexual relationship with him.
Court records cited by the station indicate that Amos’ fines were waived in July 2015 before she later received a text from the judge.
“Your fee; fines and court costs are taken care of!” he wrote. “You now officially owe me!! Haha.”
Amos said her relationship with Moreland became sexual “about a year later.” Documents obtained by WSMV show that Moreland later wrote two letters in November 2016 directing a clerk to “pull” two of Amos’ traffic tickets.
“Thanks so much for your help,” she later texted him. “Much appreciated!”
“They are gone!!” Moreland replied, before suggesting that they meet the following day at her apartment.
“What you doing tomorrow between 3:30 and 5:30???” Amos asked.
“Just be horny and naked!!” Moreland replied.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced five new counts in a 25-page indictment against Moreland, including two counts of theft, two additional obstruction of justice counts relating to witness tampering and one count of committing an offense while on pretrial release.
Moreland, while presiding over the General Sessions Drug Treatment Court, allegedly embezzled cash from its foundation by instructing its director to deliver envelopes of cash to his office in exchange for allowing the director to increase her own compensation from the Drug Court Foundation.
And in February 2017, once he learned he was being investigated by the FBI and a federal grand jury, Moreland allegedly took steps to hide his involvement by directing the foundation’s director to destroy documents that would show how much he stole. Moreland also allegedly told a witness to lie to the grand jury investigating the allegations last month, federal prosecutors said.
Moreland, who resigned in March 2017, has denied having sexual relationships with Terry and Amos, and told the Nashville Scene that he recused himself from both of their cases.
“Because I had even a minimal acquaintance with both Ms. Terry and Ms. Amos, when their cases were assigned to my court – as a result of process that is entirely random – I took the proper step of recusal to ensure the matters were handled in other General Sessions Courts,” Moreland said in a statement to the newspaper. “At no time did I intervene on their behalf during or after judgment were rendered by the appropriate courts.”
A federal judge has ruled that Moreland would remain held at the Grayson County Detention Center until his trial in June, The Tennessean reports.