Lawsuit accuses county trustee of cattle rustling, womanizing

Hamblen County Trustee John Baskette is accused of cattle rustling in a lawsuit, reports the News Sentinel. The further contends Baskette used the money from the cattle sales “for his womanizing.”

The county sheriff and the TBI had apparently investigated the situation, but decided against filing any criminal charges. Jill Talley, Baskette’s attorney, contends Georgia cattleman Danny G. Simmons’ lawsuit is nothing more than a smear campaign by Baskette’s estranged wife and denied the claims of cattle rustling, womanizing and excessive drinking.

“I think the driving force behind this entire lawsuit is a bitter, soon-to-be ex-wife,” Talley said. “John Baskette does not drink. There are no mystery girlfriends.”

Simmons’ attorney, R. Deno Cole, countered that cattleman Simmons of Dalton, Ga., “has no interest in Mr. Baskette’s ongoing divorce case, has no political interest in East Tennessee politics … (and) trusted Mr. Baskette to take care of his livestock and finds it extremely unpleasant that he has to file a lawsuit against Mr. Baskette to recover his damages.”

Cole denied any “business connection, or otherwise” between Simmons and Charissa Baskette, the trustee’s estranged wife.

Melanie Hogg, who represents Baskette’s wife in the divorce, declined comment.

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