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Former TN House Speaker Casada, Aide Arrested In Corruption Probe

Former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada and his top aide were arrested on federal charge Tuesday, including bribery, kickbacks and conspiracy to commit money laundering with federal funds. Their indictments come months after Republican Rep. Robin Smith resigned after being faced with wire fraud charges involving Casada, the Associated Press Reports. Arrested at their homes, both Casada and former Chief Staff Cade Cothren could face up to 20 years in prison. Allegedly Casa and Cothren exploited their position of power by working with an unnamed lawmaker to funnel money to themselves. The pair used a political consulting firm, Phoenix Solutions, LLC, to conceal their involvement. “It was further part of the conspiracy for Casada and the other conspirator to enrich themselves by obtaining bribes and kickbacks from Cothren, in exchange for securing the approval of Phoenix Solutions as a mailer program vendor,” the Justice Department said. The 20-count charging documents said Cothren launched Phoenix Solutions with Smith and Casada’s “knowledge and support” to offer mail and consulting services to lawmakers. The three said the firm was run by a “Matthew Phoenix” when in fact it was a made-up alias for Cothren, and Casada knew the name was fictitious. The documents allege Smith emailed Cothren to assume the role of Matthew, to which he replied " “Matthew, reporting for duty!” and included a GIF of “a salute from Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo in the movie Star Wars." In 2019 Casada texted Cothren expressing his pleasure and Cothren advised that no one should know of his involvement. The Phoenix Solutions firm received $52,000 from state payments.