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Knoxville Rep. Zachary confirms he was among several state lawmakers to receive a federal subpoena

Multiple Tennessee State Representatives received subpoenas this week, including House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) confirmed on Friday he received a subpoena from federal authorities this week.

Rep. Zachary said he is subpoenaed to be an FBI witness and testify in front of a Federal Grand Jury. He said he is not under investigation.

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and other Republican state representatives also received federal subpoenas this week. 

“We have been fully cooperating with the federal authorities since I became Speaker in 2019. It is not unexpected that I and other members would be called to appear before a grand jury to provide factual statements as part of this ongoing investigation,” said Speaker Sexton said in a statement to News4, a sister station with WBIR in Nashville.

WBIR 10News reached out to 10 East Tennessee state representatives to see if they had also received a subpoena. Representatives Lowell Russell, Bob Ramsey, Jeremy Faison, Gloria Johnson, Sam McKenzie, Dave Wright and John Ragan all said they had not received one. 

"I have complete confidence in the FBI to complete a thorough investigation," Rep. Russell added. "Public trust depends on it." 

Earlier in March, Rep. Robin Smith (R-Chattanooga) resigned after federal prosecutors charged her with wire fraud. 

Prosecutors alleged Smith worked with two other state representatives to encourage other representatives to work with Phoenix Solutions in exchange for kickbacks. 

The company offered mail and consulting services for members of the legislature. 

The information from a court document also alleged that in September and December 2020, Smith received two checks from Phoenix Solutions totaling more than $24,000, which she deposited into her consulting firm’s bank account.

According to the court document, Smith helped others, including two unnamed individuals believed to be former Speaker of the House Glen Casada and his former chief of staff Cade Cothren, devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud the citizens of the Middle District of Tennessee.  

According to the information, 'unnamed individual 1' was a member of the Tennessee House, first elected in 2003 and served as Speaker of the Tennessee House from around January 2019 until around August 2019 when he resigned as Speaker after a scandal became public. The 'unnamed individual 2' was a businessman and former Chief of Staff to 'individual 1' when he was Tennessee House Speaker.

Some members said they believed these subpoenas were related either to the case involving Rep. Smith, or are related to a controversial school vouchers vote from 2019. Rep. Zachary said his subpoena is not related to his vote on school vouchers from 2019. 

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