UPDATE: Judge denies Hamilton Co. Commissioner Tim Boyd's motion to dismiss extortion case
Boyd, who represents District 8, was indicted on an extortion charge in April after a TBI investigation into an allegation that Boyd tried to force his opponent, East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert, to withdraw from the race by threatening to release potentially damaging information about him.
UPDATE: A Bradley County judge denied newly re-elected Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd's motion to have his indictment for extortion dismissed.
Boyd, who represents District 8, was indicted on an extortion charge in April after a TBI investigation into an allegation that Boyd tried to force his opponent, East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert, to withdraw from the district 8 race by threatening to release potentially damaging information about him.
Bradley County Judge Andrew Freiberg is overseeing the case after Hamilton County judges recused themselves.
Defense attorney Lee Davis is representing Boyd. He argued, there was no extortion between Boyd and his then opponent Lambert.
Davis said in court, the state has to show coercion was used and that Boyd's conversations were 'political speech,' which is protected.
"Boyd has the right to receive a phone call, talk to with him and tell him, 'I may send this information, I may not send this information, I want you to be aware of it and handle it and give you the possibility to withdraw, if you want to withdraw," Davis explained.
However, Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston cited a few sections from the phone call transcripts that demonstrates coercion. Pinkston read a line from the transcripts where Boyd said to Lambert that he had information that would not be good for him or his family.
"This is blatantly unethical, and significantly impactful for Brent's future politics, livelihood, and family,' I think those are examples of too that fall under threat or coercion," Pinkston read from transcripts.
Judge Freiburg said it's common for opponents to communicate with each other as they are contemplating engaging in a political race. However, what may be said or the tenor of those statements, whether it's political speech or rises to threats, is in dispute and therefore, the court should not consider the motion to dismiss.
"I think it's an issue of fact that's in dispute and therefore it's not appropriate for a court to consider a motion to suppress," said Judge Freiburg.
A grand jury indicted Boyd on one count of extortion, a Class D felony.
Boyd pleaded not guilty and was released on a $2,500 bond in May. If convicted, extortion carries a possible sentence of 2-12 years in prison.
Boyd's next court appearance will be for a status hearing, which is scheduled for August 9, before the case goes to trial.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Newly-re-elected Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd has moved to have his indictment charges dismissed.
Tim Boyd, who represents District 8, was indicted on extortion charges in April after a TBI investigation into an allegation that Boyd tried to force his opponent, Brent Lambert, to withdraw from the race by threatening to release potentially damaging information about Lambert.
PREVIOUS STORY: A Hamilton County commissioner charged with extortion says it's all a misunderstanding.
Tim Boyd, who is running for reelection for the District 8 seat, is out on bond after turning himself in Wednesday morning.
Boyd arrived at the Brainerd Rec Center to cast his ballot early in the county primary, hours after being booked into the Hamilton County Jail.
"I think the people are going to rally behind me, I've served District 8 well," Boyd said.
Boyd told Channel 3 he doesn't think an indictment and arrest will hurt his campaign.
Records show a grand jury indicted Boyd on one count of extortion, a Class D felony.
The charge comes after a TBI investigation into an allegation that Boyd tried to force his opponent, Brent Lambert, to withdraw from the race by threatening to release potentially damaging information about Lambert.
Boyd believes it all stems from two phone calls he said he received from Lambert, about questions surrounding money Lambert received from developers.
Boyd outlined his concerns in a mailer he sent out to the district last week.
"'What do you want me to do?' I said, 'Why are you asking me that? I'm your opponent, as an opponent, I want you to leave the race.' So is that a threat? No," Boyd said.
Boyd said he was only giving Lambert advice.
Boyd was back to the bench in time for Wednesday's commission meeting.
The group did not acknowledge Boyd's arrest.
Chairman Randy Fairbanks had this to say when asked about Boyd's arrest.
"So as far as I'm concerned, right now he's a full member of the board serving like he's supposed to serve," he said.
Boyd was released on a $2,500 bond.
It's not clear if a court date will be set ahead of the May 1st primary when voters will head to the polls.
"So this is their campaign and my team was ready for this. We're very prepared, I'm not worried. I think my family worries about it more than I do," Boyd said.
If convicted, extortion carries a possible sentence of 2-12 years in prison.
We reached out to Brent Lambert, who testified against Boyd in the hearing that led to his arrest.
Lambert sent us the following statement:
My campaign to serve the great citizens of our community began because of my commitment to see East Ridge grow and prosper as a wonderful place to live and raise our families. My work as East Ridge Mayor has reflected that commitment with economic development and job growth. My commitment has been strengthened that District 8 deserves a voice committed to our community, not political grandstanding or theater. I am more committed than ever to the fact that good things can happen if we work together.
The events of recent days are only a snapshot of what has occurred over the last several weeks that have impacted the importance of this race and the very reason that I am a candidate.
I applaud the TBI for doing a thorough investigation into the threats that were made against me, my family, my professional career and political career. The TBI is receiving the full cooperation of me, my family and my campaign. Despite any claims to minimize this situation, the TBI has been thorough and respectful in its fact-finding and presentation of facts to the grand jury that has issued this indictment.
When I was threatened several weeks ago, I felt that I had no recourse but to alert the authorities. Citizens of District 8 are not represented by the backroom bullying that has been the standard approach by the current incumbent on any number of issues. Under the premise of “asking the hard questions,” the incumbent has appeared to be an advocate for an accountable government. Ironically, his tactics and behavior demonstrate anything but an accountable government.
I look forward to the evidence that will soon be made available that captures the nature of the threats made against me and the false claims of any wrong-doing in my previous campaigns. I can say with all confidence that nothing that I have done in any campaign past or currently has been illegal.
While the events of the recent days have placed the campaign for County Commission District 8 in the news and the court of public opinion, the TBI investigation will be concluded in a court of law. My personal pledge to the citizens of District 8 is to be a public servant that represents the district and the issues best served by our community. You deserve better.
PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 has obtained the true bill for the charge of extortion for Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd who was indicted by a grand jury Tuesday.
Boyd was booked Wednesday after appearing at the Commission meeting. His bond was set for $2,500.
Boyd is facing one extortion charge, which is a Class D Felony.
According to Tennessee law, the sentence could range from 2 to 12 years, depending on the number of prior felony convictions. Boyd does not have a criminal past.
Channel 3 has learned that a representative of TBI testified in the grand jury hearing, and Brent Lambert, Boyd’s opponent, also testified in the hearing.
The grand jury found that, “Timothy Boyd heretofore before February 22, 2018, in the County aforesaid, did unlawfully use coercion upon another, Brent Lambert, with the intent to obtain property, services, any advantage or immunity; or restrict unlawfully another’s freedom of action in violation of Tennessee Code Annotate 39-14-112, against the peace and dignity of the state.”
Tennessee Code explains the charge of extortion as:
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 14 - Offenses Against Property
Part 1 - Theft
39-14-112 - Extortion.
(a) A person commits extortion who uses coercion upon another person with the intent to:
(1) Obtain property, services, any advantage or immunity; or
(2) Restrict unlawfully anther's freedom of action.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for extortion that the person reasonably claimed:
(1) Appropriate restitution or appropriate indemnification for harm done; or
(2) Appropriate compensation for property or lawful services.
(c) Extortion is a Class D felony.
[Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 1.]
Boyd posted his repose on Facebook Wednessday morning:
PREVIOUS STORY: Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd has been indicted by a grand jury.
Matt Lea, spokesperson for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, said the HCSO Fugitive Division received the indictment Tuesday.
"The HCSO has been notified that Commissioner Boyd has made arrangements through his attorney to turn himself into jail personnel at a time to be determined," Lea said.
According to our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Boyd is facing one charge of extortion.
Channel 3 reached out to the District Attorney's Office. They were unable to confirm the indictment.
Commissioner Boyd released the following statement to us:
“This action by the District Attorney today is perhaps the most flagrantly political, despicable, desperate thing any of us has ever seen in Hamilton County. It reeks of politics and is exactly the kind of government overreach that voters are sick and tired of. I welcome all the facts around Mr. Lambert’s charges, and I will take my case for re-election to the voters in District 8.
The facts about Mr. Lambert’s taking money from the Exit 1 developers, putting it into his campaign account and then putting it in his pocket are well known. They were public before I talked with Mr. Lambert and I used these FACTS in a mailer to voters this week. Is there any question about the motivations of those involved with this?
My attorney and I will cooperate with the Sheriff and move forward to defend my name and win an election."
This is a developing story. Channel 3 will keep you updated as we learn more.