Knox County Judge Baumgartner under investigation by TBI

Knox County Judge Baumgartner under investigation by TBI

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Judge Richard Baumgartner Judge Richard Baumgartner

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knox County judge about to take an indefinite medical leave is the subject of a probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner is under investigation according to TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm, but she says she can't disclose the allegations against him.

Helm says she isn't certain when the investigation began, "but it's been ongoing for awhile."

Al Schmutzer Jr., a retired district attorney general for Sevier, Cocke, Jefferson and Grainger counties, is the special prosecutor on the case. He refused to comment when reached Friday by phone.

John Gill, who serves as special counsel to Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols, also would not comment on the investigation.

The judge's medical leave was just announced Thursday, and no specifics were given.

Judge Baumgartner declined to comment on the investigation Friday when 6 News reached him by phone.

Attorney Don Bosch is representing Judge Baumgartner. He also had no comment.

He has served over many high-profile trials including the Christian-Newsom murders and the trials for Raynella Dossett-Leath and Thomas "Zoo Man" Huskey.

Judge Baumgartner issued a ruling Friday denying a new murder trial in the Dossett Leath case.

Gary Christian, the father of murder victim Channon Christian, said he has not talked with the district attorney general about how the investigation might affect his daughter's case.

Mary Newsom, the mother of Christian's boyfriend, Chris Newsom, said she had not known about the investigation of the judge but felt he didn't look good at the last trial in the Christian-Newsom case. It resulted in convictions for Vanessa Coleman, although she was acquitted on murder charges.

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