Former agent says senator wore hidden recorder in investigation

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A former TBI agent has testified at state senator Jerry Cooper's fraud trial that Cooper twice wore a hidden microphone for him and was initially considered to be a victim in the case.

Now-retired TBI agent Danny Wix testified as a defense witness today -- the third day of the Morrison Democrat's federal court trial in Chattanooga.

He said Cooper wore a recording device in 2001 and again in 2003, when the investigation was focused on a Huntsville, Alabama, businessman who bought Cooper's lumber mill property.       Cooper has pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy.

Wix told the jury of ten women and two men in response to questioning by defense attorney Jerry Summers that he had considered Cooper to be a crime "victim" early in what started as an investigation of Tony Auyer.

Summers declined to say if Cooper will testify but he told District Judge Curtis Collier the trial might go to the jury earlier than planned -- possibly by Friday. Collier has said trial will not be held tomorrow due to a schedule conflict.

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