Monday, October 30, 2017

Four Eggers Helped Ashe Co. Sheriff Terry Buchanan Build That Stone Wall

Stacy C. "Four" Eggers
We reported here on October 24 that Ashe County Sheriff Terry Buchanan had been suspended from office and is under indictment for obstruction of justice (et cetera) and that Watauga County attorney Stacy C. "Four" Eggers is in the middle of it as Buchanan's lawyer.

Just how much in the middle is revealed in District Attorney Tom Horner's petition outlining the case against Buchanan (thanks for the link, JS). Four Eggers appears in this petition in a significant way (and you can see for yourself by following that link).

May 12, 2017: Four Eggers announces to the Ashe County IT department that he's been hired by Sheriff Buchanan "to help fulfill" the Public Records Request (PRR) from WBTV and its investigative team led by Nick Ochsner.

(In the meantime, Buchanan carelessly gives his personal cell phone number to the Ashe IT department, then claims it is his wife's cell phone number, and then launches a campaign of public intimidation against county employees trying to fulfill the WBTV PRR. The intimidation actually works.)

June 16, 2017: Upon receipt of partial compliance of its PRR, WBTV wants to know when it will get any production from Sheriff Buchanan's work cell phone (not knowing at that point that Buchanan was also using his personal cell).

June 19, 2017: Ashe County public records custodian Ann Clark responds to WBTV that she's under investigation by the Sheriff's department for trying to fulfill WBTV's PRR.

June 22, 2017: Nick Ochsner sends second PRR directly to Sheriff Buchanan, including in the request any "written communication regarding the Ashe County Sheriff's Office and the Eggers Law Firm."

June 23, 2017: In response, Four Eggers sends "partial production" of PRR to Ochsner. According to District Attorney Horner, "Eggers claimed it to be 'all responsive text messages and email in the possession of Sheriff Buchanan.' Eggers attached the two Public Records Requests, a brief email exchange between Buchanan and [Ashe County] Board [of Commissioners] Chairman William Sands, text messages between Buchanan's work cell phone and [Ashe County] Commissioner Jeff Rose's cell phone, and an invoice from the Eggers Law Firm. The production contained no text messages from Buchanan's personal cell phone. Nevertheless, based on this production, Ochsner learned that Rose had used another phone for public purposes. Like Buchanan, Rose was not providing information requested by the PRR, and the June 23 production by Eggers was the first time that Ochsner learned about Roses's personal cell phone and its use for public purposes." [emphasis added]

June 29, 2017: WBTV points out that Eggers had inadvertently spilled some intriguing beans on June 23rd about Rose's use of a personal cell phone for county business.

June 30 2017: "Eggers sent a response letter to [WBTV's lawyer] on behalf of Buchanan .... The letter contained a log of messages sent and received by Buchanan's work cell phone to Rose's personal cell phone. The provided information contained no content other than the date, time, and phone number information. Eggers represented [that] the message content was redacted due to a personal exemption. Again, Eggers stated that there were no responsive text messages or emails that he was able to locate and that he believed that the data produced on June 23 and June 30 satisfied the PRR for Buchanan. However, the letter contained an attachment of emails between Buchanan and the Eggers Law Firm. Included in the attached emails was an email sent by Buchanan to Eggers on May 31, 2017, where Buchanan requested Eggers to call him on Buchanan's personal cell phone to discuss an issue at the Ashe County Detention Center. Based on this email, Ochsner discovered that Buchanan was using his personal cell phone for official business."

Oops. That awkward moment when you discover that your own lawyer just blew your cover.

June 30, 2017: Ochsner immediately emailed Eggers demanding production of Buchanan's personal cell phone texts.

July 7, 2017: "Eggers responded [to Ochsner] by saying that he had 'overlooked' the request for text message content from Buchanan's personal cell phone. Eggers stated that he had spoken to Buchanan and based on this discussion, 'Buchanan's only text messages about work conducted on his personal phone were with me ... There are no other work related text messages on Sheriff Buchanan's phone."

August 31, 2017: Eggers tells WBTV that he is requesting records for Buchanan's personal cell phone to see if any additional work-related text messages existed despite already certifying to WBTV that everything had been produced.

Sheriff Buchanan, expressing his
contempt for the public records
request from WBTV, on
April 17, 2017, before the Ashe
Co. Commish. Photo Jesse Campbell,
Jefferson Post
October 11, 2017: Eggers tells WBTV some six months after Ochsner's first PRR that he -- Eggers -- has just obtained releases from Buchanan and his wife to acquire Carolina West Wireless records from Buchanan's personal cell phone. Eggers says he has been given "metadata" only -- just the date, time, and recipient of messages -- and that the metadata "contained no communication with the County Commissioners on the county cell phone numbers other than text messages between Buchanan and Rose on Rose's work cell phone number. Eggers then gives an excuse for why the communications between Buchanan and Rose may not be subject to the North Carolina public records laws, despite not having the actual content to the messages in his possession for review. Again, Eggers states, 'I believe that Sheriff Buchanan has complied with the requirements of the public records laws, as he provided all responsive documents within his possession. I'm sorry to get your hopes up that more documents may be forthcoming...."

October 12, 2017: WBTV reminds Eggers of the letter of the law regarding PRRs, that relevant texts on personal devices cannot be legally withheld.

October 12, 2017: Eggers responds, reopening the door a crack about maybe possibly obtaining the actual text messages from Buchanan's personal cell.

October 20, 2017: The "legal compliance analyst" representing Carolina West emails WBTV and Four Eggers that he has released to Four Eggers "the requested text content" from Buchanan's personal cell phone. Those texts never get proffered to WBTV in compliance with the PRR.

October 23, 2017: Nick Ochsner swears an affidavit that to date he has received no compliance to his repeated PRRs from Sheriff Buchanan.

October 23, 2017: The District Attorney seeks and achieves the suspension of Sheriff Buchanan from office along with a six-count indictment against Buchanan for misdemeanors and felonies while in office.

Those personal cell phone text messages are still being withheld, unless the District Attorney has them by now.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now that's some extra good lawyering right there!

John Sears said...

Shady lawyering exposed.

Anonymous said...

Don't need this in our County

Anonymous said...

Go to Boone to get a shady lawyer

Anonymous said...

We have bad law enforcement people here in ashe like you get caught with meth and do no time and charges just disappear but you can go to the post office and get the potpourri that you ordered and get three felonies there is something up with that shit

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what defense attorneys do??

Anonymous said...

Well, a defense attorney working on the taxpayers dime? Oh and Eggers also represented Buchanan when the Freedom from Religion Foundation came calling about his sheriff’s department sponsored “prayer in” with Anne Graham at the sheriff’s department.

Anonymous said...

We as a county are lying in the messes we allowed to happen. We fell apart as a county when we took cruising away from our kids.. It was the only thing kids had to do around here and it keep them out of trouble and it took maybe 2 officers to watch over them. We took that away subjecting them to to unsupervised social gathering, drugs, sex and everything else. And kids are the future they need to be on the front pages of the papers for their acheivments .....not this garbage. That old saying if u lay with dogs dont be surprised when u get fleas!!!

Anonymous said...

Lock him up!!!!