Change of venue sought in Clayton Smart trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Change of venue sought in Clayton Smart trial

It was a quick court appearance for Clayton Smart, but it packed a punch.

The surprise came from Mark Singer's corner. Smart's former investment advisor wants the criminal trial moved out of town.

"We set forth in there some very specific reasons why we feel a change of venue is necessary in a case like this and we look forward to being heard by the court," Singer's attorney Zach Fardon said.

The motion says negative news coverage makes it impossible for Singer to get a fair trial in Shelby County, so it must be moved to Davidson County.

It claims Action News 5 and other media painted Singer and Smart as "villains who 'robbed the dead' and preyed upon families at 'the worst time of their lives."

The motion says the media featured heartfelt stories of victims who cannot properly grieve for their loved ones because of the scandal.

It added that, with more than 13,000 Forest Hill policy holders in Shelby County, any jury member who would enter the courtroom knows someone or is indirectly linked to someone involved.

Smart's attorney said his client may jump on board.

"After reviewing that motion we will decide if we should join in that motion for a change of venue, but I haven't had a chance to review it in a substantive way," Smart's attorney Lee Gerald said.

Singer's motion also points out he had no ownership in Forest Hill and was just Smart's financial advisor.

The motion also claimed the media shows no signs of slowing down and that it would be unfair for a biased jury to rule on an innocent man.

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