Stewart proposes bill declaring AG can investigate harassment

House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart says he’ll introduce legislation next session clarifying that the state Attorney General does have the authority to investigate claims of witness tampering or other harassment, reports the Nashville Post.

The move comes two months after a “Jane Doe” in the AG’s investigation of former Rep. Jeremy Durham received harassing materials at her home shortly after the public release of the investigative report. At the time, AG Herb Slatery’s office said it did not have the authority to investigate further.

Stewart said Friday he thinks the AG already does have that authority, but this new legislation would specifically clarify that the AG’s authority “shall extend to any investigation of claims that a witness involved in an investigation by the attorney general and reporter has been threatened or harassed in connection with the investigation, or any other conduct that might hinder or impair any such investigation.”

Stewart said he thinks the bill will have broad support, because it will be hard to vote against it — as it won’t only imply to an investigation in this particular instance but any future investigation by the AG.

Further, from The Tennessean:

In a statement late Friday, House Speaker Beth Harwell said she would support the idea of giving the attorney general authority to investigate such retaliation.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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