Vote-Buying Indictment Parameters Unchanged
One week after federally indicted vote-buying suspect Brian “Wormy” Hodge asked for a modification of his bond – to permit him to work as a deputy in the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department – a federal judge in Knoxville on Tuesday said no.
In a memorandum and order filed on April 25, United States Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley said the “firearm condition” of Hodge’s bond “should not be lifted or modified at this time.”
Hodge and attorney Michael McGovern appeared in a hearing before Shirley on Tuesday, April 18, to request the magistrate modify Hodge’s appearance bond, which “prohibits the possession of a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon.”
His order thus released stated:
“On February 7, 2017, Defendant Hodge was charged along with a named co-defendant, Betty Jane Best, with a single count of conspiring to buy votes and thirteen substantive counts of buying votes. The Defendant appeared before the undersigned for an arraignment on the Indictment on February 24, 2017. At that hearing, the Court issued an Order Setting Conditions of Release for Defendant Hodge. In addition to the firearm condition quoted above, the Order contained the following two additional conditions of release, which are relevant to the instant issue:
The defendant must continue or actively seek employment and avoid all contact, directly or indirectly, with any person who is or may be a victim or witness in the investigation or prosecution. The Order did not restrict the Defendant from pursuing or continuing any particular type of employment.