Top Dems back Briley, leave his return to him

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 1:35am

State House Democratic leaders are remaining supportive of Rep. Rob Briley and say they are not making recommendations on whether he should step down from the Legislature to get his life in order.

Briley (D-Nashville) had been in treatment for alcoholism but abruptly checked out of rehab last week and was found by law enforcement authorities on a casino floor in Tunica.

The 41-year-old attorney checked into rehab after being charged with two felonies, a DUI and several additional misdemeanors after two incidents in DeKalb and Wilson counties in early September.

Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah), the longtime chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said he has not spoken with Briley recently and is not making any recommendation on whether Briley should continue in the Legislature.

Rinks said Briley still could be an effective member of the Legislature.

“People are willing I think to forgive,” Rinks said. “I think we’ve all been raised that way. And I think people are willing to forgive, but when you get in that situation you’ve got to just be able to prove yourself and be willing to do that.”

Days after abruptly checking out of rehab, going missing and being found in Tunica, Briley is believed to be back in Nashville, according to sources close to the lawmaker.

Calls to his cell phone have not been returned. His brother, David, will not issue further comment to the press, and neither would his attorney, Wade Davies of Knoxville.

House Majority Leader Gary Odom (D-Nashville) would not speculate on whether Briley could still be an effective member of the Legislature, saying he hopes Briley gets well.

“I don’t know how that’s going to play out, but I’m sure that it will all work out in the end,” Odom said. “And I hope the way it works out is I hope that Rob Briley gets well because he’s a good guy.”

Briley checked out of rehab shortly after a story ran in the Nashville Scene alleging that Briley had an extramarital affair with a Capitol Hill lobbyist who lobbied the House Judiciary Committee that Briley previously chaired.

Both Odom and Rinks said they hear lots of rumors but maintained they were not aware of an affair involving Briley. House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) has also said he was not aware when he appointed Briley to chair the Judiciary Committee of any such affair.

Briley resigned as Judiciary Chairman the week after he was charged with the alleged offenses.

Briley is not scheduled to appear in court until Oct. 31 in Wilson County.

Filed under: City News
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By: BADCOPS on 12/31/69 at 7:00

You'd think that the democraps would want to clean up their party.If it where a republican they wouldn't allow it.Either party that has law makers like this should automatically show them the curb.

By: Rocket99 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Let's don't get started on what the Republicans will and will not allow involving their politicians.Briley truly needs help. Hope he gets it very soon.

By: Wdeere on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Let's see -- two felony charges plus misdemeanor charges. Checked himself out of rehab and found drunk lying on a casino floor. Yup, he's ready to get back into action as a Democrat legislator!I feel sorry for him but it is ridiculous for the Dems to say they are leaving it up to him to decide when he is ready to come back! Is it because he is showing such great judgment at this point?

By: vchester on 12/31/69 at 7:00

We see this type of hypocrisy at many levels. William Jefferson (D-LA) had 100,000 in cash in his freezer and has not been indicted or convicted. Let a Republican do this and every news rag in the country will be on it like flies.So, Rocket-man, I will get started on it. There is a glaring difference in the way the Tennessean and other liberal hacks address these issues: it all has to do with party and not with right or wrong.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Uh, isn't this a NEWSpaper, vchester? Isn't it being reported?

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Dud99, I say lets DO get started on what the Republicans vs the Democrats would tolerate in their legislators. Once bad behavior was made public Republicans have coerced those legislators to resign. That is not and has not been evident with the Democrats. Nonetheless, Representative Rob Riley appears to be in need of the services of a mental health professional. Because the business of the people of Tennessee is greater than one sick puppy Riley MUST be removed (resign) as a State Representative until after he has been cleared (if possible) of all criminal charges and has been deemed healthy by the a board of Mental Health professionals.

By: vchester on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Nazi, I believe I cited the Tennessean as being blatantly liberal, which is representative of almost all of the major rags in this country. Sorry, fair and balanced just does not exist in the major news rags.On Briley's condition, I think everyone would agree that this man needs some kind of treatment. But he does NOT need to be in a legislative position while suffering from these problems. And, Democrats should not try to sweep his condition under the rug and Hope this "good guy" gets better.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

vchester, I also believe that he needs to resign. But I really don't believe the media is liberal. Take a look at who owns the media. Dems have their missteps reported too so don't call martyr syndrome for the republicans.

By: DeweyDecible on 12/31/69 at 7:00

First off, he wasn't found drunk on the casino floor. He was found "on a casino floor in Tunica". This means he was gambling, not necessarily drinking. This is a poorly written phrase since it implied drinking, the image of a man drunk on the floor, and doesn't clarify to us the real details. Briley's screwed up. I love the guy, but he's really crossed the line here. He needs to do a lot of things before I would accept him back. I'm a Democrat and have supported Briley for a long time. I would expect him to make a public apology for his actions to start. Then I would also appreciate it if he went back to rehab instead of babying out on his treatment because of a scathing, and I would also say unecessarily personal, Scene article. And those of you who believe that the media attacks Republicans more than Democrats, whatever! For one, this is state government, and the Democrats have screwed up so much more than the Republicans and it's all been reported. Going as far back as the Tenn Waltz, to Senator Cooper, and now Briley. There hasn't been any negative coverage of Republicans in State politics because they've been behaving. At the federal level however, we all know the Republican Party got high on the hog for the last seven years and now they are paying the price for feeling invincible.

By: Rocket99 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Ok wilting weed.The Repubs are so hypocritical it's funny They always come out against something like gay issues and abortion and then you find out that when the closet doors start rattling they run and hide like roaches hoping someone won't spill their secrets. The Dems do it too so it's not unique to either party. It's just that the Repubs are usually more red faced about it when they get caught.Also, Repubs seem to try more "witch hunt" style tactics than the Dems which makes it more interesting when they are caught in their own traps.

By: jsnap on 12/31/69 at 7:00

As a democrat I cannot believe that the Democratic leadership would not push for him to resign. I cannot believe a Democrat in a leadership role could say he can still be an affective leader and keep a straight face.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Dud99, now that you have emoted; try to stay of the issue, which is the accountability for the actions of its members that have been elected to legislative office as it relates to the DemocRATS and Republicans. You can do that; can you not? On the other hand, true to your liberal lemmings philosophy, you clowns have been fed the same garbage for so long that it scares you to hear an opposing viewpoint(s) which explains why you lemmings need "fair and balanced" because collectively you are not capable of discerning the truth garnered from two or more opposing view points.BTW, perhaps you can list those "witch hunt" style tactics” that you claim the Republicans have employed versus those employed by than organized crime in the DemocRAT party under the leadership of Clinton Inc.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Dud99, in the event that your feeble mind could not hold its focus, the issue is Representative Rob Riley. He MUST be removed from elected office. But, then again, he is a liberal DemocRAT, therefore based on the actions of other DemocRATS that are/were under indictment(s) as far as the Tennessee DemocRAT party leadership is concerned his behavior is considered to be normal. I will throw you one bone and that is when a Republican or Independent is charged with similar behavior he/she is "red-faced" due to being embarrassed. One cannot say the same for DemocRATS because they applaud one another for such lewd, disgusting personal behavior. And you know that is true; do you not?

By: Rocket99 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Looks like weedie doesn't like looking in the mirror. He's afraid he'll see a true lemming.I'm not saying that Mr. Briley shouldn't resign. If you think I am, you're wrong once again.What about the witch hunt the Repubs did on Clinton? Guess you forgot about that.

By: Rocket99 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

weedie is way too predictible.

By: tennliberal on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Briley should resign, the trial lawyers should fire their sex-for-hire lobbyist (Briley's mistress), the Democrats should clean up their mess, the Republicans should quit acting like they never do anything wrong, and we should all try to do something about how the monied interests control our political process -- in Nashville and in Washington.Look, if we all sat down and drew up a list of politicians who have taken bribes, steered contracts, and been caught in sex scandals, the fact is there would be just as many Democrats as Republicans. You out-of-control dittohead moron types try to make everyhting a party line issue, but as far as personal failures among the politicians are concerned, that just doesn't make sense.Rob Briley's problems are personal failures, not Democratic ones.Larry Craig's problems are personal failures, not Republican ones.William Jefferson's problems are personal failures, not Democratic ones.David Vitter's problems are personal failures. not Republican ones.Bill Clinton's infidelity is a personal failure, not a Democratic one.Rudy Guliani's or Newt Gingrch's infidelities are personal failures, not Republican ones.Is it really necesary to go on and on and on and on with this? People screw up. When they do, not everyone in their political party (assuming its the other party than the one you belong to) is somehow guilty of that.