Draft report on allegations given to Herenton - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Draft report on allegations given to Herenton

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton
Gwen Smith Gwen Smith

A special prosecutor says a woman who claims she was asked to join a sex-scandal plot against the Memphis mayor has credibility.

"Gwen Smith was, on the whole, credible," Joe Baugh, the former state prosecutor for Williamson County, told Action News 5 on Thursday.

Smith approached the mayor last year about an alleged plot to ruin his political career.  She claimed prominent Memphis attorney Richard Fields, real estate mogul Nick Clark, an FBI agent and car dealer Russell Gwatney offered to pay her off to seduce Herenton and videotape their encounter.

Since then, The TBI has interviewed everyone involved.

"The TBI people were able to confirm some of the things she said," Baugh said.

Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the TBI, said the agency's investigation is complete and Baugh has the authority to present the findings to a grand jury.

"We have met with the special prosecutor," TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm said.  "We have turned the investigative file over to him for his review, and that's when he decides whether or not any criminal charges will be brought.

Baugh said he turned over a draft of his report on the investigation to Mayor Willie Herenton. He did not say if he uncovered any evidence that could lead to criminal prosecutions or to further investigation by a grand jury.

Thursday, Fields said he could not comment on the report, because he had not yet seen it.  Clark and Mayor Herenton declined comment.  Readus Smith, Gwen Smith's father, said he was ecstatic his daughter's name had been cleared.

"I'm relieved that the special prosecutor did his job faithfully, and justice weighted out," he said.

Smith said he would let the matter rest if his family received an apology, but was not sure if his daughter had plans to pursue a civil lawsuit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.

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