Gov. Bill Haslam won’t have to face a court deposition as part of a lawsuit filed by Occupy Nashville following a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Joe B. Brown on Thursday afternoon.
But amid the state’s defense against Haslam being deposed, Assistant Attorney General Dawn Jordan told Brown that Haslam had provided incorrect information to the media about the Office of the Attorney General’s involvement prior to the Occupy arrests.
“We had conversations last week that involved General Services, Safety and the Attorney General’s Office was part of the conversations,” Haslam told media on Nov. 4, 2011. “... all those folks were part of the conversations.”
Jordan said that quote was not true — and used the mishap to illustrate how Haslam didn’t have “unique personal knowledge” of the conversations surrounding the implementation of a policy that resulted in the arrests at Legislative Plaza.
When asked for comment, the Governor’s Office told The City Paper it would be inappropriate to comment on Haslam’s interaction with the Attorney General’s Office due to the active lawsuit.
Brown suggested that the Occupy Nashville attorneys didn’t exhaust other methods of legal discovery before requesting to depose the governor. Occupy Nashville will have the opportunity to pose the governor questions through filing interrogatories and requests for admission. Brown said if the answers aren’t satisfactory, Occupy Nashville could request to depose Haslam again.
And while Haslam avoided having to be deposed, Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Department of General Services Commissioner Steven Cates will each have to undergo four hours of deposition.
Originally, Jordan requested that the two commissioners be deposed for only 45 minutes.
“An attorney takes 45 minutes to say hello,” Brown quipped, before extending the time to four hours.
Occupy Nashville originally filed the lawsuit on Oct. 30 in response to new rules about the use of Legislative Plaza by the protesters. The suit included a temporary injunction that Judge Aleta Trauger signed that prevented the state from enforcing the rules.
A trial date is set for Aug. 6.