JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Embattled LaFollette City Council Member Ann Thompson’s criminal court case saw a lurch forward yesterday in court.
She is charged with 36 felony counts that include 34 counts of wiretapping and electronic surveillance and two counts of official misconduct. While her case had been moving through the court system accordingly, COVID-19 halted in-person hearings and Zoom hearings had been used only for inmates. That changed this week when the docket was split with non- custodial cases being reviewed on Monday.
An offer has been made by the state it was revealed during the brief hearing. The nature of that offer wasn’t disclosed, only referenced by Franklin Ammons, Thompson’s attorney. Ammons said he was preparing a counteroffer to present to prosecutors with an expected completion by the Sept. 14 court date.
“We made an offer and asked for a written counteroffer,” said Assistant District Attorney General David Pollard. “We are still waiting.”
Eighth Judicial District Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton suggested Thompson’s attorney move quicker on the counteroffer.
A review date was confirmed for Sept. 14.
Thompson, a longtime critic of her fellow elected officials, stands accused of placing a tape recorder under a conference table in the city council chambers. The recorder captured approximately 34 conversations from Jan. 29, 2019 until Feb. 12, 2019, before working its way loose and falling to the floor during a community prayer meeting. Tennessee is a one party consent state, meaning that as long as one person is aware a recording is being made no laws are being broken. That is not the case for Thompson who allegedly hid the recorder under the table using Velcro, according to previous WLAF News stories.
Thompson’s arrest came after a lengthy investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
She had been a favorite with voters in the Fall 2019 election garnering the most votes of the six contenders. She has also been an outspoken opponent of her fellow council members, Mayor Mike Stanfield and several city employees. On more than one occasion, this resulted in a counterattack from these groups with Thompson’s husband, Nick, often jumping to her defense in public forums.
Under the city charter, a council member can only be unseated if the crime they are accused of results in a felony conviction.
Thompson’s pending criminal charges carry from one to 12 years in prison per counts along with monetary fines of $3,000 per charge. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/14/2020- 6AM)