Judge hears motions to dismiss case against ex-Knox County judge

Judge hears motions to dismiss case against ex-Knox County Judge Baumgartner

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Attorney Ann Short, ex-Judge Richard Baumgartner and attorney Don Bosch Attorney Ann Short, ex-Judge Richard Baumgartner and attorney Don Bosch

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Ex-Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner was in federal court again Monday. His attorneys have filed motions to dismiss the case against him, delay the start of the trial and throw out evidence.

A grand jury indicted Baumgartner in May on seven counts of federal misprision of a felony. This came after a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe revealed he was buying pain pills from a convicted felon.

Richard Baumgartner was in the courtroom Monday. At one point, he grabbed a notepad and started taking notes.

Twelve motions were addressed during the hearing. Baumgartner's attorney's filed a motion to dismiss the counts saying the prosecution has failed to allege an offense because the ex-judge is not accused of lying to federal authority figures.

The U.S. attorneys countered that by alleging that Baumgartner committed a federal felony, knew it, failed to notify the authorities and concealed it, making it a federal case.

The defense also claims there was a First Amendment violation by criminalizing speech.

The U.S. attorneys say the First Amendment does not protect speech from being prosecuted in this case. They gave the example of someone saying, "This is a bank robbery." They  say the phrase can be used by the prosecution.

The defense also says the government is violating the Tenth Amendment by requiring a state official to enforce federal law or risk federal prosecution.

The U.S. attorneys say Baumgartner's rights are not being violated because he allegedly violated a federal statute.

Both sides agreed to not use GPS tracking system data on the ex-judge, a photograph of his vehicle and his medical records during the trial. This evidence will only be used if Baumgartner testifies.

Also, the defense attorneys say they need more time to address a new wrinkle in the case, with the government alleging Baumgartner played a role in the drug trafficking conspiracy to a limited extent.

The judge will rule on these motions at a later date.

As of now, Baumgartner's trial is scheduled to start on October 23.

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