Memphis mayor accepts city attorney's resignation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis mayor accepts city attorney's resignation

Elbert Jefferson Elbert Jefferson

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The saga of former City Attorney Elbert Jefferson ended in an unexpected twist Sunday behind closed doors inside City Hall.  According to Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery, during a meeting Sunday night, Jefferson resigned.

Jefferson was scheduled to face a judge Monday on accusations of official misconduct, but that didn't happen.  Criminal Court Judge James Lammey said it was pointless to use any further court resources oust the former city attorney.

"The court did that because of the developments over the weekend," prosecutor Byron Winsett said.

The Shelby County District Attorney was set to prosecute oust Jefferson over accusations of misconduct after Jefferson approved city dollars to pay former Mayor Willie Herenton's legal defense in a federal probe. But after Sunday night's meeting with Lowery, that wasn't necessary.

"He turned in his car, his computer and his keys and we shook hands," Lowery said.

With that, Jefferson resigned.

"The drama is over," Lowery said. "This could have all been avoided."

It was a far cry from what happened in August, when Lowery had police escort Jefferson from City Hall, saying Jefferson outsourced too much of the city's legal fees.  Jefferson's attorney, Herschel Rosenberg, explained why Jefferson is now asking the city to pay his legal bill.

"There has not been any wrongdoing proving that he was involved with anything," Rosenberg said.

Through it all, Rosenberg added, Jefferson still wants to work for incoming Mayor AC Wharton.

"For him to be considered, perhaps, for a new position," he said.

Meanwhile, Lowery said CAO Jack Sammons has turned over several documents to the FBI.

"There are other investigations that will probably continue," Lowery said. "The city has no control over those."

On October 27, the state is expected to either withdraw the case or dismiss it for being moot.

Lowery, who was scheduled to meet with mayor-elect Wharton on Monday, said the issue of Elbert Jefferson is now in the new mayor's hands.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 

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