U.S. Attorney Says FBI Agents Searched Offices and Homes of Tennessee State Lawmakers
The homes and offices of several Tennessee state lawmakers were searched by FBI agents on Friday
The raid included several offices at the Cordell Hull State Office Building in Nashville as well as the homes of former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, Rep. Robin Smith and Casada's former chief of staff Cade Cothren, David Boling, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Middle Tennessee, confirmed to PEOPLE.
Boling declined to comment on the nature of the searches.
In a press conference on Friday, current Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton said that the offices of Rep. Todd Warner and Rep. Kent Calfee were also visited by investigators.
"This has been a trying week for our country, and this will be a difficult time for our state as well as we go down this road," Sexton told reporters. "Personally, these are our friends and colleagues of ours that we've worked with for many years. It's important to remember that this is just the start of the investigation and the process, and not the end. Today does not necessarily imply guilt."
Sexton did not provide details into the investigation, though he said he has been in contact with federal authorities about it "since becoming speaker" in August 2019.
Sexton also told reporters that several employees have been put on administrative leave amid the ongoing investigation.
According to legislative administration director Connie Ridley; Holt Whitt, the interim chief of staff to Sexton; Nadine Korby, the legislative assistant to Calfee; and Carol Simpson, the legislative assistant to Casada, have been placed on paid leave, WBIR reported.
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"I think this day is a sad day for Tennessee and the General Assembly," Sexton said during the press conference. "As we move forward, friends and colleagues, I’m not going to sit here and hypothesize about what is or what isn’t based on past actions. I’m just here merely talking about the actions of today and how we’ve been cooperating and we’re asking the rest of our colleagues and members to do the same."
Casada served as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives from January through August 2019. He resigned from his post after he was accused of exchanging sexually explicit text messages about women with Cothren years ago, according to the Associated Press.
In 2019, Casada came under review by the Registry of Election Finance over campaign spending, Fox 17 reported.
Reps. Casada, Smith, Warner and Calfee did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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