The Latest: Tennessee speaker apologizes, promises probes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on scandal surrounding Speaker Glen Casada’s office (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Embattled House Speaker Glen Casada says he’s asking for multiple probes of the scandals surrounding his office, saying he takes “complete ownership” of exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a former top aide about women.

In a letter Wednesday, Casada said he wrote the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorneys General Conference asking them to investigate an email by his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren. He also apologized for his own conduct.

The investigation, he says, would probe whether Cothren tampered with evidence by making it look like a student activist had emailed Casada in violation of bond conditions after his February arrest during protests at Casada’s office.

Casada says he’s confident the email wasn’t forged.

Casada also wrote that he has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Cothren’s employment termination and his work with legislative administration to review personnel policies and consider possible drug testing of new employees. Cothren acknowledged drug use in a legislative office several years ago.


1:45 p.m.

A handful of Republican lawmakers are joining calls for House Speaker Glen Casada to resign from his top legislative leadership position.

Casada has faced increased scrutiny on Wednesday after his top aide, Cade Cothren, stepped down Monday amid allegations he sent racist and sexually explicit text messages. Cothren also acknowledged using cocaine in his legislative office several years ago.

Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison told The Associated Press he saw no way for Casada to be an effective leader.

Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn is Casada’s immediate successor and told The Tennessean he agreed Casada should step down.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee has declined to say if Casada should resign, but has described the recent events as disturbing and shouldn’t be tolerated.

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