PERJURY, INTIMIDATION OR UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 7, 2012) — On October 3, 2012, Monroe County acting grand jury foreman Faye C. Tennyson told Assistant District Attorney Steve Morgan under oath that she is currently not under an appointing order as grand jury foreman. However, Tennyson confirmed that her signature appears on the indictment charging Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III with “tampering with government records” in March of this year.
Morgan, acting for the prosecution, had asked Tennyson, “Do you have an appointing order?” to which Tennyson had answered, “No.” “After she said ‘no,’ they got her out of there right-quick,” an attendee of the hearing told us.
While an appointing order announcing Tennyson as the new foreman was issued early in 2011, Fitzpatrick had challenged its validity because it had no beginning date nor end date and misspelled Tennyson’s first name.
Two attendees of the October 3 hearing have described Tennyson as “84 years old” and “between 85 and 90,” respectively. “She is a very fragile, weak and diminutive person with no business being in a grand jury,” one attendee said. “She was unable to negotiate a simple question without some very gentle coaxing, so how is she able to sit in a jury setting and hear these very important cases and then vote on them? She is a perfect example of how these juries are being manipulated, and how they’re being abused, used against their own citizens.”
In 2011, after being appointed, whether properly or not, Faye Tennyson received two mailings from Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, one of them certified and signed for and the other “returned unopened.” However, during Wednesday’s hearing, she told Morgan that she had never received anything in the mail from Fitzpatrick and was not acquainted with him.
An observer reflected that while Tennyson’s answers were untruthful, she might not have the ability to recall that she had received mailings from Fitzpatrick. “She was not able to process a simple question about her vote this year. You heard the judge lowering his voice and speaking to her in a son-to-a-mother approach…”
During the probable cause hearing on January 17, 2012, Judge J. Reed Dixon had stated that a special grand jury would be chosen to examine the evidence against Fitzpatrick because all of the members of the current grand jury were familiar with the case against him. The judge had said that he would “pick the grand jury.” Tennyson served as foreman of the special grand jury, although she told Morgan that she did not cast a vote as to whether or not to issue the indictment.
After assuming Fitzpatrick’s defense in August, Atty. Van Irion had maintained that Tennyson was ineligible to serve in 2012 when she had served in 2011. In 2008, a law was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly which stated that jurors could not serve consecutive terms.
In an earlier hearing, Fitzpatrick had challenged the charging documents in the case because they were signed by an unidentified person who might or might not have had the authority to issue them. Presiding Judge Walter C. Kurtz had responded that any defects in the charging documents were “cured by the indictment.” However, Tennyson is serving a consecutive term contrary to state law, reportedly without having been duly appointed, and possibly unable to understand the responsibilities of a grand jury foreman.
On May 4, 2012, Kurtz had appeared unbiased toward either the prosecution or the defendant, but eyewitnesses described him as having been “very biased” against Irion and frustrated that Fitzpatrick had found an attorney. On May 4, Kurtz had suggested that Fitzpatrick seek out an attorney for his defense.
Fitzpatrick has exposed systemic corruption over the last three years since he discovered that the last acting Monroe County grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway, had held his position for 28 consecutive years. It was later discovered that Pettway had never been sworn in by the admission of the court clerk. Judges have been shown to openly flout the law, dictated from the bench, influenced jurors, denied citizens the right to observe court hearings, and refused to respond to subpoenas. The Tennessee Supreme Court strengthened ethics rules for the state’s judges in January of this year.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to date has taken no action against judges known to be breaking the law and depriving citizens of due process, stating that an order would have to be issued from the District Attorney General to investigate a judge. The Knoxville FBI has also refused to act despite numerous reports from citizens, including Fitzpatrick.
The District Attorney General and his assistants in the Tenth Judicial District are currently under investigation by the TBI for alleged misconduct, influencing of grand jury members in McMinn County, and improper use of expenditures funded by taxpayers. On August 22, 2012, Fitzpatrick went to the McMinn County grand jury to ask the foreman if the group were operating legally given laws passed in 1984 which have never been followed which ordered reorganization of the trial courts and grand juries by districts. The foreman, who is an attorney, was unable to answer the question. Assistant District Attorney General Steve Morgan, who appeared in court on October 3 for the prosecution, had provided Fitzpatrick with a petition on which to write the name of the person he intended to accuse of wrongdoing in front of the grand jury that day if granted a hearing. Fitzpatrick had asked Morgan, “By the way, counselor, what happens if I want to put your name on this complaint?” to which Morgan replied, “You’ll have to talk to the grand jury foreman about that.”
Two observers of the October 3 hearing described an incident whereby a witness, Monroe County Sheriff’s County Detective Conway Mason, testified, then left the courtroom and conferred with another government employee in the lobby. Mason subsequently re-entered the courtroom and asked to correct his testimony, which the judge allowed. The observers had described the woman who left the courtroom just after Mason had as a court clerk, but The Post & Email has learned that she was actually Jennifer Bledsoe of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
Walter Fitzpatrick informed us of the occurrence:
Jennifer Bledsoe is a Monroe County Sheriff’s detective. I think she holds the rank of captain.
She’s been to every one of my hearings, fly on the wall in the courtroom.
Bledsoe was one of those who participated in the S.W.A.T. raid with Conway Mason on the evening of 7 December 2011.
Bledsoe heard Mason fumble his testimony on Wednesday.
When Mason left the courtroom out one door, Bledsoe exited through another. She approached Mason outside the courtroom. Bledsoe alerted Mason to his gaffe.
Then Mason approached Deputy Court Clerk René Ezell in the clerk’s office. Mason consulted Ezell regarding his flawed answers. Mason asked Ezell for corrections.
Ezell had already testified at the hearing as a defense witness before Mason was called to testify.
Mason is also a defense witness.
Ezell and Mason aren’t allowed to talk to each other regarding this case.
After Mason was aware of his mistake, and after Bledsoe and Ezell worked to properly inform him, Mason returned to the courtroom at the behest of the ADA Morgan (prosecutor Wednesday), and worked to correct the record.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.