-vs-                     No. 97-0108

 JIM SHIPLEY, in his official capacity
 as City Manager of the City of 


         October 4, 2001


 SAMUEL J. HARRIS, Attorney at Law
  P.O. Box 873 
  Cookeville, TN.          38503
 (Counsel for Plaintiff)
 JOHN C. DUFFY, Attorney at Law
 P.O. Box 131
 Knoxville, TN. 37901-0131 
 MICHAEL O'MARA, Attorney at Law 
 317 West Spring Street 
 Cookeville, TN. 38501 
 Counsel for Defendants) 
 Prepared by: 
 449 Roma Drive 
 Crossville, TN. 38555

   Page 1

1           INDEX
3      Direct Examination by Mr. Duffy     Page 3 
4      Cross Examination by Mr. Harris     Page 52 
5      Re-Direct Examination by Mr. Duffy  Page 104 
6      Re-Cross Examination by Mr. Harris  Page 106 
7      Certificate of Reporter             Page 108 
8      Exhibits                            Page 109

                           Page 1a 

1     This is the deposition of WILLIAM EDWARD 
2      GIBSON, taken by agreement of counsel, at the city hail 
3      of Cookeville, Tennessee, at approximately 2:50 p.m. on 
4      October 4th, 2001, taken for proof pursuant to the 
5      Rules of Civil Procedure. 
6       All formalities as to caption, certificate 
7      and transmission are waived. It is agreed that Carla 
8      York Hannah, court reporter and notary public for the 
9      state of Tennessee, may take the said deposition by 
10    stenograph machine and tape recorder, transcribing the 
11    same to typewriting. The signature of the witness is 
12    hereby expressly waived.
14    MR. CASEY:     United States District Court, 
15    Middle District of Tennessee, Northeast Division at 
16    Cookeville, The Putnam Pit, Incorporated and Geoffrey 
17    Davidian, plaintiffs versus City of Cookeville and Jim 
18    Shipley, in his Official Capacity as City Manager of the 
19    City of Cookeville. This is a deposition of Attorney 
20    General Bill Gibson. We're at the city hail in 
21    Cookeville, Tennessee. This is October the 4th at 
22    2:48 p.m. of the year 2001. My name is Mike Casey. I am 
23    doing the video deposition in this case, Michael's Video 
24    Productions, 1570 Brown Avenue, Cookeville, Tennessee.
25    The attorneys will now identify themselves. 

Page 2

1      MR. DUFFY:     John Duffy for the defendants.
2      MR. HARRIS:    Sam Harris for The Putnam Pit
3      and Geoff Dividian, the plaintiffs. 
4      MR. CASEY:     Also present is Mike O'Mara, 
5      attorney for the City of Cookeville. The court reporter 
6      will now swear in the witness. 

9     WILLIAM EDWARD GIBSON, having been first 
10    duly sworn, testified as follows: 
11                       DIRECT EXAMINATION 
12    BY MR. DUFFY:
13     Q.             We should also stipulate that this is a
14    deposition for proof. What is your name, sir? 
15     A.            William Edward Gibson. 
16     Q.            And how are you employed, sir? 
17     A.            I'm the District Attorney General for 
18    the State of Tennessee, the Thirteenth Judicial District. 
19     Q.            And are you going to be out of the 
20    country during the week of October 9th? 
21     A.            I am going to be out of the country 
22    from the 7th of October through the 14th, hopefully. 
23      Q.           All right, sir. Tell the members of 
24    the jury what counties the Thirteenth Judicial District 
25    encompasses, if you will.

Page 3

1       A.           It's seven counties in upper middle
2      Tennessee: Overton, Pickett, Clay, Putnam, Cumberland,
3      White and DeKalb Counties. 
4       Q.           And how long have you been District 
5      Attorney General for the Thirteenth Judicial District? 
6       A.           A little over eleven years. I took 
7      office the first time September the 1st of 1990. 
8       Q.           Were you then re-elected in 1998? 
9       A.           I was. 
10     Q.           And the district attorney serves eight 
11    year terms, I believe? 
12      A.           That's correct.
13      Q.           All right, sir. What is... what is the
14    job of the district attorney general in the thirteenth 
15    judicial district? 
16      A.           Well, the district attorney's principle 
17    duties include prosecuting criminal cases in all of the 
18    courts where state charges are brought against 
19    defendants. The pursuit of justice is a good way to put 
20    it. 
21         The district attorney has a role in pursuing the 
22    guilty and also protecting the innocent from frivolous 
23    prosecution. 
24         We also have other duties. We work closely with law 
25    enforcement. We train, we do trainings with law 

Page 4

1      enforcement. We work closely with victims of crime to
2      arrange services for them. We advocate for victims. The
3      district attorney has a very wide and varied job 
4      description. 
5      Q.           Does the office of the district 
6      attorney have any impact on the business community in the 
7      judicial district that you operate? 
8      A.            Well, as with any place, the level of 
9      crime or the level of safety that the citizens in a 
10     community feel or citizens looking prospectively at 
11     coming to a community, if it's a safe place, then that 
12     certainly would have an impact on the community as far
13     those issues. 
14      Q.            And what do you do to engender
15     confidence in the business community with respect to the 
16     safety and the justice system in the judicial district in 
17     which you operate? 
18      A.            Well, our area, of course, unlike many, 
19     is a relatively safe area to live in. We are pro-active 
20     in many areas. 
21         We work with the law enforcement agencies and we pay 
22     particular attention to street level crimes and I think 
23     those things are at a minimum here. 
24         We work pro-actively with domestic violence, other 
25     resources, the domestic violence agencies. We work with

Page 5

1      the mediation services, because some issues are just not
2      particularly well suited. People will take criminal
3      warrants out on each other for issues that should be 
4      mediated. 
5      We're involved in our communities in a lot of 
6      different ways that all come back one way or another to 
7      keeping the community safe and attractive for people that 
8      might consider coming here. 
9      Q.           Let me ask you specifically about 
10     Putnam County. Now is your office located in Cookeville? 
11       A.           My office is located in Cookeville, my
12     main office. We also have a satellite office in 
13     Livingston and one in Crossville. 
14       Q.           And do you believe the Putnam County 
15     area is a good location for business or a bad location 
16     for business? 
17     MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to the 
18     leading. 
19     WITNESS:       I think the Putnam County area 
20     is... 
21     MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) I'm also going to 
22     make an objection here as to what his foundation is, as 
23     to his qualifications to give this opinion. 
24     WITNESS:  I think the Putnam County area 
25     is very good for business in a lot of different ways.

Page 6 

1      And the one I'm most familiar with is that it is an area
2      where people can feel safe.
3      Q.             All right. Any other reasons that you
4      believe it to be a good place for business?
5      A.             Well, I just think it's a good
6      location. We're well served by highways. We have an
7      attractive area of the country to be in.
8      I think the people here are good. I characterized
9      it at a recent talk I was giving somewhere that, you
10     know, if you scream in a parking lot around Cookeville
11     and Putnam County, somebody is going to come and help
12     you. And that says it pretty well.
13     The people around here care about each other. And I
14     think people that come here find us to be friendly. 
15      Q.            All right, sir. Do you know Jim 
16     Shipley, the city   manager for the City of Cookeville? 
17      A.            I do. 
18      Q.            Are you social friends with him? 
19      A.            No, not social friends at all. I just 
20     know him through I guess occasional business dealings 
21     where the district attorney's office had some dealing 
22     with the City of Cookeville. 
23       Q.           All right, sir. Do you know the 
24     plaintiff in this case, Geoffrey Davidian? 
25      A.            I do know Mr. Davidian.

Page 7


1      Q.             How did you come to know Mr. Davidian?
2      A.             Several years ago Mr. Davidian came to
3      Cookeville and introduced himself as a journalist. The 
4      first way that I really became acquainted with him was 
5      indirectly. I had heard that he was here investigating, 
6      doing an investigation on a murder case that was going on 
7      here, a murder investigation or a death investigation. 
8     That Mr. Davidian had received a speeding ticket 
9      from the city police department and he was taking issue 
10     with that in the court system. 
11         And at some point at that time, and it's been 
12     several years ago, but Mr. Davidian did, in fact, start
13     calling and coming to see me. 
14      Q.            All right, sir. Did he ask you or make 
15     inquiries with respect to the death of Darlene Eldridge? 
16      A.            He did question the death of Darlene 
17     Eldridge. 
18      Q.            And by the way on the speeding 
19     ticket... the speeding ticket, excuse me, what if anything 
20     did Mr. Davidian tell you about his theory for why he got 
21     this speeding ticket? 
22      A.            Well, he came in and he was I think at 
23     that point in time questioning the Constitutionality of 
24     the municipal court and he was asking me questions. And 
25     he was, either in conversations with me or maybe with

Page 8

1      others, had implied that he got . . . 
2      MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) I'm going to 
3      object as hearsay to the extent it was conversations with 
4      others, unless the foundation is laid as to these 
5      conversations. 
6      Q.            And right now I'm asking what 
7      Mr. Davidian told you. 
8      A.            Well, Mr. Davidian's whole tone was 
9      that he had been stopped and harassed by the Cookeville 
10     Police Department because he was in town doing a 
11     journalistic investigation of a death case that they were 
12     investigating. 
13         That he was looking over their shoulder and that 
14     this was some sort of a warning to him to leave it alone 
15     is what he implied to me. 
16         And I asked Mr. Davidian, you know, the first 
17     question I had was, you know, were you actually speeding 
18     or not? And he said he didn't know. That that wasn't 
19     important. That wasn't the issue. The issue was, 
20     whether he was speeding or not, he felt the motive behind 
21     the traffic stop was on account of what he was here for. 
22      Q.            I see. Tell the jury was there an 
23     investigation by one or more agencies into the death of 
24     Darlene Eldridge? 
25      A.            There was an investigation. I think it

Page 9

1      was headed up originally by the Cookeville Police
2      Department and assisted by the State Fire Marshall's
3      Office. And later at the request of the family, the 
4      T.B.I. was called in to back up the city's investigation 
5      or to follow down, to follow additional leads. To kind 
6      of oversee the city's investigation and do anything else 
7      that needed to be done. 
8      Q.            What did Mr. Davidian tell you about 
9      his relationship with the Eldridge family or the Eldridge 
10     investigation? In other words, why he was here in the 
11     city of Cookeville? 
12      A.            Well, I don't think Mr. Davidian
13     himself ever told me what his connection was with the
14     Eldridge family or what it was that brought him here. He 
15     did say that he was here to investigate that 
16     investigation. 
17      Q.            Did you know Mr. Davidian prior to 
18     this? 
19      A.            Not at all. I think he lived in Maine 
20     or somewhere and just traveled here. 
21      Q.            Did Mr. Davidian have any ties to the 
22     local area that you're aware of? 
23      A.            I didn't know of any. 
24      Q.            Did he express anything else about his 
25     interest in pursuing an investigation about the death,

Page 10 

1      circumstances of the death of Darlene Eldridqe? 
2      A.            No. It's like he made some mention of 
3      the death of Darlene Eldridge, but the subject, the tone 
4      or the thrust of his visit pretty quickly turned to 
5      himself and his own pursuit of this traffic ticket thing. 
6      Q.            All right. Did he subpoena you in that 
7      traffic ticket case? 
8      A.            At some point that traffic ticket case 
9      made it to the Circuit Court. And he subpoenaed me to 
10     come to a local motel to a discovery deposition out of 
11     that case. 
12         And in that subpoena, if my recollection is correct, 
13     he asked that I bring all of the records, paperwork, 
14     documents that my office had concerning the investigation 
15     of the death of Darlene Eldridge to this deposition 
16     concerning his traffic ticket. 
17      Q.            Now, would a subpoena of that breadth 
18     about an ongoing investigation, would that cause you as 
19     district attorney any concern? 
20      A.            It certainly would cause any district 
21     attorney concern. And what I did in that case is I 
22     called the state attorney general's office, our legal 
23     counsel for state agencies, and I asked them what I 
24     should do in that situation. 
25         They were immediately concerned since it did involve

Page 11

1      an ongoing investigation and the effort in an unrelated
2      case to get into this open investigative file. They said
3      that they were going to send a representative up here to 
4      represent me in the issue of the subpoena. 
5     Which they did. A lawyer came from the attorney 
6      general's office and appeared and the court did quash 
7      that subpoena. Or did away with the subpoena. Said in 
8      this case that there was no necessity in me coming and 
9      bringing those records for a deposition. 
10      Q.            Now, prior to that time... are you 
11     familiar with Mr. Davidian's publication of the Putnam 
12     Pit? 
13      A.            I am very familiar with the Putnam Pit. 
14      Q.            Okay. Prior to the subpoena quash 
15     where you were subpoenaed and the state attorney 
16     general's office successfully resisted your appearing as 
17     a witness in the traffic ticket case, had Mr. Davidian 
18     written anything about you or your office that you know 
19     of? 
20      A.            The time frames, and it's been several 
21     years ago, and in the very early stages of Mr. Davidian's 
22     visits to Cookeville, he began publishing information 
23     about my office and about this investigation. As far as
24     when that information or when those publications came in 
25     regard to that subpoena, I'm not certain. 
Page 12

1      Q.            All right. Do you recall ever seeing
2      anything published in the Cookeville... Let me ask you
3      would you be aware of an article accusing you, for 
4      example, of Cocaine use or conspiring to interfere with a 
5      murder investigation? Something that came out in the 
6      local community, would you be aware of something like 
7      that? 
8      A.            I'm very much aware of those things. 
9      Mr. Davidian has consistently through his publication 
10     suggested Cocaine use. Articles that say "Confidential 
11     sources say that the district attorney has a Cocaine... 
12     uses Cocaine" or people saying they've used Cocaine with 
13     the district attorney. 
14         At one point in time, Mr. Davidian was in my office 
15     and he said, "Well, let me just ask you something. Have 
16     you ever used Cocaine?" And I said, "No", which is the
17     truth. I had not.
18         And before long, there was a big headline, "District 
19     Attorney Gibson denies Cocaine use", which could be 
20     orchestrated to convey to the general public that it was 
21     true, but I was just denying it. And it was a total spin 
22     on the truth. 
23      Q.            Did articles such as this, were those 
24     published prior to the subpoena quash in the traffic 
25     ticket case or after? 

Page 13 

1      A.            Well, I'm not exactly sure about the
2      dates, but I believe they were before and after.
3      Certainly after and I believe some of those articles came
4      before the subpoena issue. 
5      Q.           What was Mr. Davidian's response as far 
6      as his publication when you through the state attorney 
7      general's office resisted providing access to 
8      Mr. Davidian to your files pursuant to the subpoena that 
9      he issued? 
10   A.           Well, there was implication that the 
11   state had come in to protect this conspiracy. That was 
12   what was implied in his article. That "obviously the 
13   district attorney has dodged the bullet of this subpoena
14   and the truth will remain unheard". 
15   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to this 
16   testimony at this time. There's been no foundation as to 
17   what he... to where these statements are, what articles 
18   he's referring to. And certainly I'm also objecting on 
19   the grounds of best evidence. If he's going to state 
20   what's in these articles, I think the articles need to be 
21   submitted, rather than have him summarize what he thinks 
22   they say. So I would ask that we have some foundation as 
23   to which articles he's referring to. 
24   MR. DUFFY:     Well, the articles will be 
25   exhibits at trial. I'm asking him to testify as to

Page 14

1      his... right now as to his recollection of these
2      articles. 
3      MR. HARRIS:    Then I raise the best evidence
4      rule. 
5      MR. DUFFY;     Fine. 
6      BY MR. DUFFY: 
7       Q.           You may go ahead and finish your 
8      answer, sir. 
9       A.           I just recall the articles made the 
10    implication that there was, you know, again, some big 
11    secret hidden in these files, which there wasn't. 
12     Q.           Let me show you what is dated the 
13    November 12th, 1997 edition of the Putnam Pit and ask you
14    if you are familiar with that first off? 
15     A.           I have seen this, yes. 
16     Q.           All right. And reading from it, since 
17    we can't make it an exhibit right now at this deposition, 
18    why don't you just read that starting with editorial 
19    over. Read the first page of that, where the word 
20    "Editorial" begins and there's a picture of it looks like 
21    Darlene Eldridge. 
22     A.           In large print "Who killed Darlene 
23    Eldridge?", with a question mark. "By Geoff Davidian, 
24    editor of the Putnam Pit. Five years ago on 
25    November 21st, school teacher Darlene Eldridge died of

Page 15

1     the injuries she received when an arsonist torched her
2      State Street home as she slept. The killer has not been
3      prosecuted. City Attorney T. Michael O'Mara billed the
4      city about ten thousand dollars for his work in keeping
5      the files of this killing closed, protecting District
6      Attorney General William E. Gibson from having to testify
7      about possible Cocaine use with the dead woman and other
8      facts that would have brought the killer to justice.
9     Nice work, Mike. You are an example of the finest and
10    brightest, an example of a person who abused the system
11    to keep a killer on the streets. Congratulations on your
12    fine work. Maybe your church will pray for your soul.
13    The Putnam Pit is certain that those who worship with you
14    are as clear in their opinion of your fine work as we are
15    at the Putnam Pit. Mr. O'Mara, our hats are off to you
16    for the lack of shame with which you carry yourself.
17    Remember, you shmoozed your way to the top. Now just
18    steal from the public and help the scum bags. After all,
19    you have to prepare for hell".
20     Q.            Now, let me ask you with respect to the
21    implications, whatever they might be, that an arsonist
22    torched the home of Darlene Eldridge. Was that
23    investigated?
24     A.            That was thoroughly investigated by
25    several agencies. 

Page 16

1      Q.            And what determination was made with
2      respect to whether it was an arson?
3      A.            There were a lot of agencies involved
4     and various determinations. I don't think there was ever 
5     a firm finding that it was the result of an arsonist. 
6      think at one point the fire marshal's office may have 
7      suggested that and then changed their opinion. 
8     I know for a fact that there was never a suspect 
9      developed or a motive. The Cookeville Police Department 
10    did extensive work on it and then as I said earlier, at 
11    the request of the family, the T.B.I. came in to follow 
12    certain leads that the family suggested might be viable 
13    that were overlooked intentionally by the police
14    department. The T.B.I. investigated it. And there has 
15    never been a finding by those agencies that it was an 
16    arson or that it was a murder. 
17     Q.            So with respect to the implication that 
18    the killer has not been prosecuted, was there ever a 
19    suspect identified? 
20     A.            There's never been a suspect 
21    identified. 
22      Q.           And the investigation into that, was 
23    that something done by your office? 
24      A.                No, it was not done by our office. 
25    We're not a primary investigative agency. But it was
Page 17 

1      done by the police department and the T.B.I. and some 
2      other agencies that worked with them. 
3       Q.            Now, with respect to the implications 
4      that the city attorney was protecting you, the district 
5      attorney general, from having to testify about possible 
6      Cocaine use with a dead woman and other facts that would 
7      have brought the killer to justice, first off let me ask 
8      you this question. What do you have to say about 
9      Mr. Davidian's accusations about your possible Cocaine 
10   use with the dead woman? 
11      A.           I've never used Cocaine with anybody. 
12    And I didn't know Ms. Eldridge at any level. I knew she
13    was a school teacher. I can't say that we never met, but
14    certainly before this I couldn't have picked her out of a 
15    crowd or told you who she was. 
16     Q.            And with respect to Mr. Davidian's 
17    implication that your testimony would have revealed facts 
18    that would have brought the killer of Darlene Eldridge to 
19    justice, what say you to that? 
20     A.            There's nothing about that. There's 
21    nothing that I could have testified to or knew that... 
22    If there were a killer of Darlene Eldridge, I would love 
23    nothing more than to see the person arrested and brought 
24    to justice. There's been never anything hid. There's
25    nothing to hide in this case. 

Page 18 


1      Mr. Davidian had a traffic ticket case that I didn't 
2      know anything about. Didn't have any information about.
3      And he attempted to use the subpoena power that people 
4      have in that case to bring me to a deposition to discuss 
5      an ongoing or an open file, an open investigation, which 
6      was of great concern to everybody. 
7        Q.           And what do you say to the accusation 
8      that the city attorney worked to... It says, "Billed the 
9      city ten thousand dollars for his work in keeping the 
10    files of the killing closed, protecting District Attorney 
11    General William Gibson". First off, you know Mike 
12    O'Mara, don't you, I guess?
13     A.            I do. 
14     Q.            Did you have any discussion with 
15    Mike O'Mara with respect to your criminal files in your 
16    office as district attorney general about keeping them 
17    closed or protecting you from testifying? 
18      A.           No, no discussion whatsoever. There 
19    was no need to protect me at all. We did feel a need to 
20    not open those files generally to the public scrutiny or 
21    to Mr. Davidian at that point in time for very valid 
22    reasons. Leads were still being pursued and the matter 
23    was still under investigation by the T.B.I. 
24      Q.           Would it be the practice of your office 
25    as district attorney or for that matter of a prosecutor's

Page 19

1      office anywhere to open their files up in response to...
2      their criminal files in their office in response to a 
3      civil subpoena?
4       A.            I can't imagine that that would ever
5      happen outside of a court order to do so, just because of 
6      the fact that it could compromise the investigation. And 
7      in some cases, if that were a precedent, it could 
8      compromise people's lives. 
9       Q.            Did Mr. Davidian's attitude toward you 
10    change when you refused to provide him the information he 
11    sought with respect to Darlene Eldridge? 
12    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to the
13    leading.
14    WITNESS:       Mr. Davidian has always had a
15    very aggressive, combative, antagonistic approach to me 
16    and I don't know that it's ever changed. I think the 
17    first day he came in he had it and if anything, it's 
18    gotten worse over time. Mr. Davidian's approach has been 
19    very accusatory and just very aggressive. 
20     Q.            All right. Has Mr. Davidian ever 
21    accused you of being part of a conspiracy to cause harm 
22    to the Eldridge family, either through the prosecution or 
23    lack thereof of Darlene, or her brother, one Fabian 
24    Eldridge? 
25    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object for you to

Page 20

1      establish foundation as to certainly as to when this 
2      occurred and if it's in the Putnam Pit, which particular
3      article. And if it is in an article, I would certainly
4      want that as the best... Also raise the best evidence
5      rule objection.
6       Q.            You may go ahead and answer if you
7      recall the question.
8       A.            Mr. Davidian has promoted the idea, the
9      false idea that I was in some way involved in the death
10    of Darlene Eldridge. That I had used Cocaine with
11    Darlene Eldridge and that I had some motives or some
12    effect in trying to quash the investigation or interfere
13    with the investigation, because eventually it was going
14    to lead back to me. And also in the prosecution of
15    Fabian Eldridge, he has attacked that on numerous
16    occasions.
17    MR. HARRIS:    And again, I move to strike that
18    response for lack of foundation. 
19     Q.            Let me show you what is one of 
20    plaintiff's exhibits, and they have not been numbered at 
21    this time. But do you recognize the "It's Bash Bill 
22    Gibson Time" article from the Putnam Pit? 
23     A.            I do. 
24     Q.            Have you seen that before? 
25     A.            I have seen that.

Page 21

1      Q.            And could you look on page three of 
2      that exhibit, the number of which we will identify later. 
3      First off, is that... do you recognize that as being from 
4      the Putnam Pit web site? 
5       A.            I do. 
6      MR. HARRIS:    I'm sorry. Objection. What is 
7      that? 
8      MR. DUFFY:     This would be page three. 
9      MR. HARRIS:    Just the page three in general? 
10    MR. DUFFY:     Yes. 
11    MR. HARRIS:    Okay. I'm sorry. I thought 
12    you were pointing to something in particular. I didn't 
13    know what you were pointing to. We'll certainly
14    stipulate that's from the Putnam Pit. 
15    MR. DUFFY:     All right. Thank you, 
16    Mr. Harris. 
17    BY MR. DUFFY: 
18     Q.            And what does it say in the upper right 
19    hand corner on Mr. Davidian's web site? 
20     A.            It says, "New!", with an exclamation 
21    point. "He painted the sign. He paid the taxes. The 
22    least D. A. Bill Gibson could do is buy drugs with the 
23    rest of the money like a decent and respectable D. A., 
24    although he denies he used them with murdered school 
25    teacher, Darlene Eldridge". 

Page 22

1      MR. HARRIS:    I'd like you to finish reading
2     the rest of that.
3      WITNESS:       "By lawyer-ex, Putnam Pit
4      gorilla law columnist".
5      BY MR. DUFFY:
6       Q.            Thank you. Were you asked.., or I'm
7      sorry. Do you remember Putnam Pit articles with respect
8      to whether or not your office would investigate or
9      prosecute so called illegal jailer's fees allegedly
10     collected by Circuit Court Clerk Lewis Coomer?
11      A.            Yes, I'm familiar with that.
12      Q.            Can you give the jury some background
13    so they'll know what we're talking about when we talk
14    about the jailer fees collection issue that
15    Mr. Davidian is writing about?
16     A.            Well, at some point several years -- I'm
17    not sure of the exact date a law was passed that allowed
18    local governments to collect a fee from inmates housed in
19    local jails to offset the cost of their housing, so that
20    the inmates in some manner, in some way, could be
21    partially paying their own way and not the government
22    paying for all the expense of housing them.
23    It's Mr. Davidian's contention that at some point
24    the circuit court clerk in Putnam County started
25    collecting those fees either before the effective date of

Page 23

1      the statute or before the law was ratified by the county
2      government. I'm not sure.
3     But it boils down to an accusation that on behalf of 
4      Putnam County, he started collecting these fees ahead of 
5      when he was supposed to by some days or weeks or months. 
6      And that in fact, it should be investigated and 
7      prosecuted for some crime, I suppose. That's what he was 
8      promoting. (Note1) 
9       Q.            All right. Before we continue with 
10    that, let me ask you to go back. Do you remember... Let 
11    me show you again the "It's Bash Bill Gibson Time" 
12    article. And on page two, do you recall the statement on 
13    Mr. Davidian's web site, "The Gibson Legacy. Dead Baby 
14    Capital of Tennessee"? 
15      A.            I do remember that. 
16      Q.            What was it that Mr. Davidian was 
17    stating in the Putnam Pit web site with respect to you 
18    and any relation to dead babies? 
19    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to issue an objection 
20    here on the best evidence rule, that the article speaks
21    for itself. 
22    WITNESS:       To me Mr. Davidian was implying 
23    in that article or stating in that article that I was 
24    responsible for dead babies in this area by virtue of my 
25    job. 

Page 24

1      MR. DUFFY:          Mr. Harris, would you agree that
2      Mr. Davidian   had on his web site... I can't lay my hand
3      on it right now, but the question "How many dead babies
4      are in Bill Gibson's back yard?"?
5      MR. HARRIS:         We'll stipulate that that's a
6      rough paraphrasing I think of what that article is. In
7     fact, I believe... I thought we had that exhibit out
8      earlier.
9      BY MR. DUFFY:
10     Q.            Do you have any idea what Mr. Davidian
11    is referring to in that accusation in the Putnam Pit?
12    MR. HARRIS:    I am going to object on the best
13    evidence rule and also foundation as to whether.., to
14    establish whether or not Mr. Davidian wrote that article.
15    MR. DUFFY:     You will stipulate it was on its 
16    web site, won't you? 
17    MR. HARRIS:    Yes. 
18    MR. DUFFY:     Okay. 
19    BY MR. DUFFY: 
20     Q.            "How many dead babies in D. A. Gibson's 
21    back yard, by C.D. Sunny Boy Norman". Do you have any 
22    idea what this accusation is about babies, dead babies in 
23    your back yard on the Putnam Pit web site? 
24     A.            As best I recall that article, it had 
25    something to do with Methamphetamine.

Page 25

1    MR. HARRIS:    And before I had to sit back
2    down to get that, but objection to best evidence as to
3    the article speaks for itself.
4    WITNESS:       The article, I mean, it
5    certainly says and implies that there's dead babies in my 
6    back yard. And if you want to look deeper into it, that 
7    I'm responsible for the death of babies in this area in 
8    some way. And it was a very troubling article, a very 
9    troublesome thing for me to read that. 
10    Q.            Is there any truth to that accusation 
11   or innuendos therefrom? 
12    A.            No. 
13    Q.            All right. Now, going back to Circuit
14   Court Coomer, these jailer fees, were those fees that a 
15   prisoner who was convicted of an offense and served jail 
16   time, as a consequence thereof was to reimburse the 
17   county for the expenses of, you know, holding him in 
18   jail? 
19    A.            They were. 
20    Q.            And was a state statute passed that 
21   enabled the circuit court clerks of the various counties 
22   to seek reimbursement from the prisoners for those fees? 
23    A.            There was. The idea being to let the 
24   inmates pay part of their own housing and not let the tax 
25   payers bear the total cost. 

Page 26

1     Q.            All right. Let me show you this
2    article that's also from the November 14, 1997 Pit and
3    ask you to read the headline on that. Do you have a copy 
4    of the article, the full article? He'll read it. 
5    MR. HARRIS:    Okay. I'm not sure which 
6    article. You didn't show that to me. I'm not sure which 
7    article you're referring to. 
8    MR. DUFFY:     I will say this is from the 
9    C. D., I believe. And it was one of those things where 
10   if you clicked on it, it tried to take you to the 
11   internet. So I don't have the full copy. Yeah, this one 
12   here. 
13   MR. HARRIS:    I'm sorry. Which article? You
14   said... Oh, C. D. You mean the C. D. Rom and not C. D.
15   Norman? 
16   MR. DUFFY:     Right. 
17   MR. HARRIS:    The article by Susan Richards 
18   and Geoff Davidian? Is that what you're referring to? 
19   MR. DUFFY:     Right. 
20   BY MR. DUFFY: 
21    Q.            And unfortunately, I'm going to need to 
22   ask you just to read that paragraph. Or I can read it or 
23   something. 
24    A.            "T.B.I., D. A. Gibson won't investigate 
25   illegal jailer's fee collection by Court Clerk Lewis

Page 27

1    Coomer. By Susan Richards and Geoff Davidian of the 
2    Putnam Pit Staff. While going hog wild to destroy 
3    politically unpopular, seldom at work, faux-pas prone 
4    County Assessor of Taxes Byron Looper, who is not accused 
5    of any criminal activity, the Tennessee Bureau of 
6    Investigation and the district attorney general will not 
7    investigate illegal charging of jailer's fees by Circuit 
8    Court Clerk Lewis Coomer. District Attorney General Bill 
9    Gibson, clearly not the brightest man in the country, 
10   refuses to receive the evidence, local judges refuse to 
11   get involved and the state comptroller's division of 
12   county audit has not addressed the possibility that the
13   money was diverted. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's
14   number two man, Rob Reeves, became huffy, shouted 'gutter
15   journalism' and slammed down the phone when confronted
16   with the fact that the system does not address officials
17   taking money".
18    Q.            Now, what do you say to the jury with
19   respect to Mr. Davidian's reporting that the district
20   attorney general... Well, first off let me ask you was
21   there any "illegal jailer's fee" collection by Circuit
22   Court Clerk Lewis Coomer as you understood it?
23    A.            No, my understanding was that
24   Mr. Coomer was collecting the fees under this new statute
25   and putting them through the proper channels in his

Page 28

1    office. And Mr. Davidian's allegation was that he
2    started collecting, he jumped the gun or he started
3    collecting these fees before the effective date of the
4    statute or before the date when he should have started
5    collecting these fees.
6        And I've always said that, you know, if people paid
7    these fees before the law came into effect, they may have
8    a right to seek a refund. There's no implication that
9    Mr. Coomer stole any of the money or took any of the
10   money home.
11       It's just that he through inadvertence or whatever
12   started actually performing this duty before the
13   effective date that the law would have allowed him to.
14   We've never heard from any inmate who felt like he had
15   been taxed or paid the fees and should have a refund.
16       And in the context of Mr. Davidian, we felt like he
17   was just particularly on a vendetta pursuit of the
18   circuit court clerk.
19     Q. And were you ever.., do you remember
20   seeing the Putnam Pit article purporting to have an
21   exclusive interview from you with respect to the issue of
22   prosecution of Circuit Court Clerk Lewis Coomer?
23    A. I did see that article.
24     Q. Was there any... Stepping back to this
25   article, is there any truth to the statement that "the Page

Page 29

1    district attorney general will not investigate illegal
2    charging of jailer fees by Circuit Court Clerk Lewis 
3    Coomer"?
4     A.            There is truth to the statement that we
5    refused to investigate that situation. 
6     Q.            Was there any illegal charge in the 
7    jailer's fees to investigate? 
8     A.            There was not. According to his own 
9    allegations, it would not have been a criminal matter had 
10   Mr. Coomer started collecting these fees prior to the 
11   effective date. As I said before, you know, if people 
12   inappropriately paid those fees before the law took 
13   effect, then they could have asked for a refund. But 
14   there was not any suggestion of what would have amounted 
15   to criminal behavior on Mr. Coomer's part had the 
16   allegation been true. 
17    Q.            Is the circuit court clerk's office 
18   audited by the State of Tennessee comptroller's office? 
19    A.            The circuit court clerk's, as all 
20   county offices, are very closely audited. Their books 
21   and their money transactions are closely audited. 
22    Q.            Were you ever presented with any 
23   evidence or requests for a prosecution of Circuit Court
24   Clerk--it's hard to say fast--Coomer's office with 
25   respect to these jailer's fees from the auditors? 

Page 30


1     A.            No. There was never any suggestion
2    that the auditors found anything wrong there.
3     Q.            Now, there is a discussion in that
4    article about "Going hog wild to destroy politically 
5    unpopular" et cetera "County Assessor of Taxes Byron 
6    Looper". 
7     A.            Uh-huh (affirmative response). 
8     Q.            For those on the jury who.., if anyone 
9    might not know, tell them who Byron Looper is and where 
10   he's at today. 
11    A.            Well, Byron Looper at this time was the 
12   property assessor of Putnam County. He later was subject 
13   to a criminal indictment by the Putnam County Grand Jury 
14   for offenses that he committed in relation with that 
15   office. 
16       But the significant thing that people would remember 
17   about Byron Looper is he is the man that later qualified 
18   to run against State Senator Tommy Burks and assassinated 
19   Senator Burks on his farm in October of 1998. And has 
20   now been tried and convicted of that and he's serving a 
21   life sentence without possibility of parole in the State 
22   Department of Corrections. 
23     Q.           I've just been handed a note that I 
24   forgot to ask you the follow-up on the exclusive 
25   interview with District Attorney General William E.

Page 31

1    Gibson. Do you recognize that?
2    MR. HARRIS:    Could I see what you're showing
3    the witness before you show the witness, Mr. Duffy?
4    MR. DUFFY:     Sure. I'm sorry, Mr. Harris.
5    Once again, that is just what was on the C.D. Rom that
6    you provided. And if you try to click on the underlying
7    link, it tries to take you to the internet and it's not
8    contained on the C.D. Rom discovery responses that your
9    client has provided.
10   MR. HARRIS:    Well, as you know, what's on the
11   C.D. Rom, you asked for what we still have in storage and
12   that's all we have. Some of these articles are old. So
13   if you're going to make these speeches, which I object
14   to, I'd move to strike these speeches.
15   BY MR. DUFFY:
16     Q.           Is that the article to which you were
17   referring?
18     A.           It is.
19     Q.           Or the headline?
20     A.           It's called "Exclusive interview with
21   District Attorney General William E. Gibson about the
22   Lewis Coomer thefts".
23     Q.           Is that headline and the reporting that
24   is set forth therein accurate?
25    A.            No. Not at all. 

Page 32 

1     Q.            What happened? What is he referring to 
2    there? 
3     A.            Well, it was one May on a Saturday. We 
4    were having a car wash and we were using the parking lot 
5    of the D. A.'s office to raise some money for Camp 
6    Horizon, a program for special education children to get 
7    to attend. And special education teachers were washing 
8    cars basically to raise money for these kids to go to 
9    camp in July. 
10       Mr. Davidian comes flying into the parking lot and 
11   pulls up and stops and rolls down his window and says, 
12   makes some derogatory comment about something. I'm just 
13   out here trying to garner political favor or something. 
14   And starts to drive of f. 
15        Speeds off kind of and then he stops abruptly and 
16   backs up and he says something to the effect of, "Hey, 
17   why won't you investigate Coomer?" And I made some 
18   comment back to him about "Because there's nothing to 
19   investigate. There's not a crime" or something. And he 
20   rolls the window back up and takes off. 
21        And he had under this headline the substance of that 
22   two sentence conversation on the web page, implying that 
23   it was an exclusive interview with me concerning the 
24   Lewis Coomer thefts. And there were no Lewis Coomer 
25   thefts. 

Page 33

1    Q.             Now, back to Mr. Looper. Was either
2    Mr. Davidian or the writers who supplied the information
3    to him as editor of the Putnam Pit critical of your 
4    prosecution of whom we now know to be a convicted first 
5    degree murderer, Byron Looper? 
6     A.            They were always critical of that, of 
7    the prosecution of Mr. Looper. 
8    Q.             Do you understand why Mr. Davidian was 
9    critical of your office for prosecuting a first degree 
10   murder suspect? 
11    A.            I do not. Other than the fact that 
12   Mr. Davidian is someone who historically has created... 
13   he's been a person that's created difficulty, dissension, 
14   fights. And he's somebody that has come in here to 
15   basically depreciate the area and that would go 
16   consistently with that theme. Obviously a man that's 
17   here on that mission would take up for a person like 
18   Byron Looper. 
19     Q.           Did the things that he accused you of 
20   or your office of with respect to Byron Looper, were 
21   those things true? 
22   MR. HARRIS:    Well, I'm going to object as to 
23   foundation. We don't know what exactly it is that he's 
24   been accused of. 
25     Q.           Can you cite us two examples of

Page 34

1    information that Mr. Davidian published on his web site
2    in support of Byron Looper prior to his conviction or 
3    after if they were untrue with respect to your office's
4    prosecution of Mr. Looper?
5    MR. HARRIS:    And to that, if he's going to
6    summarize these articles, I'm going to object on the 
7    grounds of best evidence and ask that we actually know
8    which particular articles and we see these articles and 
9    that these articles are the best evidence as to what they
10   said. 
11    Q.            Go ahead, sir. 
12    A.            His article suggested that Mr. Looper 
13   was not being afforded his Constitutional rights. That
14   it was a politically motivated prosecution. That it was 
15   some sort of vendetta. Suggestions that the good ol' boy 
16   network of Putnam had succeeded in prosecuting an 
17   innocent person. 
18       During the trial, there was some very derogatory 
19   things on the web page about witnesses that testified at 
20   the trial. One particular individual, a farm hand at the 
21   Burks farm named Wesley Rex, he's mildly mentally 
22   retarded. And he was referred to on that web page as a 
23   moron and an idiot and just some things that were 
24   unnecessarily depreciatory, derogatory about somebody 
25   that didn't even want to be involved in the case. 

Page 35

1        Just a consistent tone of defending the actions of 
2    Looper and using that as a platform to attack the 
3    institutions and individuals around here that 
4    Mr. Davidian constantly attacked. 
5    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to move to strike all 
6    of that as a characterization rather than an actual... 
7    And again, under the best evidence rule, this is simply 
8    his characterization and opinion as to what the Putnam 
9    Pit says and not what it actually said. And that this
10   testimony should be stricken. 
11       And also certainly if he's going to be allowed to 
12   give his opinion, it's more prejudicial than probative 
13   since he's hardly established himself as an expert on
14   what was written in the Putnam Pit. 
15    Q.            Let me show you what we have as an 
16   exhibit of a Putnam Pit article on the Byron Looper case 
17   and tell us whether that article is responsive to 
18   Mr. Harris's objection. 
19   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to that 
20   question as he... 
21   MR. DUFFY:     (Interposing) Let me rephrase. 
22   Let me rephrase it. 
23   MR. HARRIS:    Thank you. 
24   BY MR. DUFFY: 
25    Q.            Is that Putnam Pit article one of the 

Page 36

1    articles that you're familiar with, published in the
2    Putnam Pit about your office and the prosecution of Byron
3    Looper?
4      A.           Is this article representative of what
5    we were saying? 
6      Q.           Is that one of them that you were 
7    testifying about? 
8      A.           It is. And there were certainly worse 
9    ones than this. 
10     Q.           Okay. Are there matters... 
11   MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) Mr. Duffy, let me 
12   stop you. I don't know if you specifically identified 
13   this particular article for the record.
14   MR. DUFFY:     Yeah, you're right, quite right, 
15   Mr. Harris. Let's do that. The reason that I didn't
16   identify it was because the copy I have does not have a 
17   date on it other than to say, you know, "The Putnam Pit, 
18   No bull". It's entitled "Bible belt welts. Readers have 
19   more faith in murder suspect Looper than in Bible 
20   thumping D.A. poll finds". 
21   MR. HARRIS:    Is yours also four pages of 
22   four? 
23   MR. DUFFY:     It's five pages actually. 
24   MR. HARRIS:    Okay. I only have four. 
25   Anyway... 

Page 37


1    BY MR. DUFFY: 
2     Q.            Do you recall without, you know, taking
3    the jury's time to go through all of it whether specific 
4    items in Mr. Davidian's article, that particular article, 
5    that you would like to respond to that made attacks at 
6    your office? 
7     A.            "A year before the Burks murder, the 
8    Democrat district attorney was willing to pay an 
9    informant to 'set Looper up', even if he had to lie to do 
10   it, John Wayne Dedmon told the Putnam Pit". That was a 
11   lie which Mr. Dedmon admitted was a lie. It was an 
12   effort that John Wayne Dedmon and Byron Looper and some 
13   of his cohorts were forwarding pursuing to set the D.A.
14   up. And John Wayne Dedmon came up and admitted to all of 
15   that. 
16     Q.           To your knowledge, did the Putnam Pit 
17   ever publish anything about Mr. Dedmon? 
18     A.           The Putnam Pit was full of this 
19   suggestion, that I had tried to hire Dedmon to set up 
20   Byron Looper. 
21     Q.           Now, once it came out that that 
22   accusation by Mr. Davidian, that it was false, did he 
23   publish anything in the Pit to correct that? 
24     A.           No. He's never taken back anything 
25   that he said that was false. 

Page 38

1    Q.             Even after Mr. Burks's (sic) conviction
2    on the first degree murder charge, has Mr. Davidian
3    continued to support Mr. Looper?
4     A.            Mr. Looper...
5    MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) I would object to
6    that question and ask... There's nothing here showing
7    that he ever supported Mr. Looper. And you're asking
8    that leading. You're asking that in a way to prejudice
9    the jury.
10   MR. DUFFY:     Let me rephrase.
11   MR. HARRIS:    This article clearly refers to
12   Looper as an insatiable office seeker. And yet you are
13   sitting here mischaracterizing the tone of the article by
14   selectively picking out the whole article.
15   MR. DUFFY:     Let me rephrase the question.
16   MR. HARRIS:    Thank you, Mr. Duffy.
17   BY MR. DUFFY:
18     Q.           Did Mr. Davidian ever publish anything
19   to rectify that false accusation with respect to
20   Mr. Dedmon and your office?
21     A.           Not to my knowledge. I quit really
22   paying any attention to the Putnam Pit at the end of the
23   Looper trial, because some of the matters that were in
24   that publication during and after the Looper trial were
25   so disturbing that I didn't... I just didn't want to...

Page 39


1    You know, I used to read it sometimes, but after some of 
2    the things he was saying during and after the trial, I 
3    didn't care to even visit the web page any more.
4    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to move to strike that 
5    under the best evidence rule and lack of foundation as to 
6    what exactly it is that he's referring to. It is 
7    disturbing. We have no basis to know what specifically
8    he's referring to.
9     Q.            And let me show you another article 
10   from the Putnam Pit. Do you recognize that one? 
11                  (Article is handed to counsel.) 
12   MR. HARRIS:    Thank you, Mr. Gibson.
13   Objection as to foundation and as to the nature and who
14   wrote the article and when it was published. Of course, 
15   we reserve that objection. I know you'll possibly 
16   establish it with another witness. 
17   MR. DUFFY:     Right. 
18   MR. HARRIS:    But until then, of course. 
19   BY MR. DUFFY: 
20     Q.           Let me show you an article that has 
21   been... It has the date of February 24, 2001 from 
22, with some sub-addresses. 
23   MR. HARRIS:    Mr. Duffy, you may need to 
24   identify that more specifically for the record. Because 
25   I certainly would ask for a copy of that. 

Page 40

1    MR. O'MARA:    Page 746 and 747 of the C.D.
2    Rom. But I'll get you a copy. 
3    BY MR. DUFFY:
4    Q.             Let me... I'm afraid that the only way
5    we're really going to be able to identify it for the jury 
6    would be to ask you perhaps if you'd just read where it 
7    starts talking about D. A. Gibson and prosecuting the 
8    Looper murder case. 
9     A.            "How we feel about D.A. Gibson 
10   prosecuting the Looper murder case. How we would feel if 
11   the case were jeopardized because he insists on 
12   prosecuting despite his links to the case. How we feel
13   about the chances of Gibson being forced to testify? How
14   we would feel if Gibson were committed to a psychiatric 
15   hospital, driven in one of Sheriff Jerry Abston's cars 
16   two weeks before trial, just before he was to testify 
17   about setting up Byron Looper. How we'd feel if we had 
18   been fed lies? How we would feel if land speculation was 
19   behind the killing. How we would feel about corruption, 
20   conniving and justice disregarded. How we would feel 
21   about political use of the criminal justice system. How 
22   we would feel if Burks's killer stays free because Gibson 
23   needs a witness against Looper. 
24    Q.            And what have you to say about that 
25   commentary with respect to your office and your 

Page 41

1    prosecution of Mr. Looper reported in the Putnam Pit?
2    A.             Well, this particular article makes a
3    lot of implications. It doesn't state anything. It 
4    makes statements in the form of questions that if those 
5    were made in the form of statements, they would be false. 
6    There's not any basis to any of this. You know, he's 
7    suggesting that Senator Burks's killer would stay free 
8    because of me, because of some need I have. "Because 
9    Gibson needs a witness against Looper". 
10   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object and move to 
11   strike this. He's not established any foundation that he 
12   knows what the article is about. 
13   MR. DUFFY:     I believe he prosecuted the case
14   and would be... Do you feel like that you're... 
15   MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) Well, then I'm 
16   going to have to move if this is about the prosecution, 
17   I'm going to move to have all of his testimony dismissed 
18   then if this is... If your offer of proof here is that 
19   we're going to retry the Byron Looper murder case, then 
20   all of his testimony is irrelevant under 403. It's a 
21   waste of the court's time. It would require extensive 
22   cross examination and rebuttal. And I want that on the 
23   record that we would now... 
24       If that's your purpose in introducing all of this, 
25   that all of this testimony should be stricken. The

Page 42

1    question I believe had nothing to do with the fact that
2    he has... I'm well aware that Mr. Gibson prosecuted Byron
3    Looper. He won that case. Byron Looper was convicted. 
4    But the issue is what... 
5        I believe your question dealt with what he wrote 
6    about Byron Looper and about the prosecution. And 
7    certainly he's written these questions that are now being 
8    characterized as statements and recharacterized without 
9    us having knowledge of what's in the article. 
10       And so again, if that's the case, I would move that 
11   all of his testimony be stricken. 
12                   (Whereupon a short recess is taken.) 
13   BY MR. DUFFY:
14   Q.             General Gibson, during the break, have
15   you had an opportunity to read the two page excerpt from 
16   the Putnam Pit relating to your office as the prosecution 
17   of Mr. Looper? 
18    A.            I have. 
19    Q.            Based on your having been deeply 
20   involved in the prosecution of the case, are you able to 
21   tell the jury your side, your side or explanation for the 
22   innuendos made by Mr. Davidian or whoever the author is 
23   in the Putnam Pit in those articles? 
24   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to that 
25   question as awfully vague. What innuendo in particular 

Page 43

1    are you referring?
2    Q.             Let me just ask it this way. What is
3    your response to what Mr. Davidian has published there, 
4    if it's Mr. ... either as the editor or author? 
5     A.            Well, I have to quote some of it to 
6    respond. It starts out, "How it feels to be short shorn, 
7    without mention of honor, guts, glory, integrity, ethics, 
8    competence or brains. How much decency we feel we must 
9    cede to satisfy District Attorney General Bill Gibson's 
10   seeming, at least to us after thoughtful consideration 
11   for months and years with no malice, something that in 
12   the past the Putnam Pit would unattractively have called 
13   'inferiority, I-must-control,' sociopath driven need to 
14   prevail." 
15       And then it asks the question, "Why?" And then it 
16   answers, "How do we feel about D. A. Gibson prosecuting 
17   the Looper murder case?" And the first response is 
18   "How we would feel if the case were jeopardized because 
19   he insists on prosecuting despite his links to the case", 
20   which the implication is I shouldn't have prosecuted the 
21   case because I have some links to the case, which is 
22   totally false. I had no links to the case whatsoever 
23   that would make it inappropriate or ineffective for me to 
24   prosecute it. 
25        "How we feel about the chances of being Gibson... of

Page 44

1    Gibson's being forced to testify". There was a point at 
2    the trial that the defense tried to call me as a witness
3    in their case for some unknown reason. 
4        "How we would feel if Gibson were committed to a 
5    psychiatric hospital, driven in one of Sheriff Jerry 
6    Abston's cars, two weeks before the trial, just before he 
7    was to testify about setting up Byron Looper." I'm not 
8    sure, except it may refer to a gentleman named John Wayne 
9    Dedmon, who said that he had conspired with Looper to set 
10   me up. 
11        "How we would feel if we had been fed lies?" 
12   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object and move to 
13   strike that as hearsay as to what John Wayne Dedmon said. 
14   That statement should be stricken. 
15   WITNESS:       John Wayne Deadmon said it in... 
16   MR. DUFFY:     (Interposing) It's not offered 
17   for the truth. 
18   WITNESS:       "How we would feel about 
19   corruption, conniving and justice disregarded. How we 
20   would feel about political use of the criminal justice 
21   system." Some theory that the Looper prosecution for the 
22   murder of Senator Burks was political. 
23   MR. HARRIS:    And I'm going to object to this 
24   speculation as to his testimony as to what... how Bill 
25   Gibson interprets this.

Page 45

1    WITNESS:       That's what he's talking about.
2    That's what he's always talked about. "How we would feel
3    if Burks's killer stays free because Gibson needs a 
4    witness against Looper", suggesting even at this point in 
5    time that Looper is not the killer. Then it comes on 
6    over and says... 
7    MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) I'll have to 
8    object to that characterization and object to this 3/4) 
9    speculation as to what that means and what it suggests 
10   and that that testimony should be... I also move to have
12   WITNESS:       And then it's got here a picture
13   of me with a circle-slash over my face and the headline
14   is, "How we feel about what you can tell from a man's 
15   eyes? Whether or not we feel you can tell whether he was 
16   a bad, bad boy?" 
17        And over the circle-slash that's over my face, it 
18   has what would seem to be a quote from me saying, "Will 
19   you forgive me? I have faith in God. I won't do it 
20   again, as far as you know. I swear." 
21        And then it comes on down and says, "Does it feel 
22   like Billy's been a bad, bad boy? Did it feel bad when 
23   you were feeling you were being a bad, bad boy? It 
24   didn't feel like I was being bad, but..." 
25        And those are things that at least by innuendo and

Page 46

1    implication seem to be quotes from me, which they are
2    absolutely not. 
3    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object and move to
4    have that stricken as to what it characterizes, what it 
5    represents, who it says. That's pure speculation on his 
6    part as to who it involves. 
7    WITNESS:       I assume the jury is going to 
8    see this exhibit. 
9    MR. HARRIS:    I would move to strike that 
10   comment. 
11   MR. DUFFY:     We're going to introduce that as 
12   one of the many articles that is published on the Putnam 
13   Pit relevant to whether or not the Putnam Pit addresses
14   the subject matter of the promotion of the economic, 
15   welfare, commerce and tourism in the industry in the 
16   area. And you would agree that is an excerpt from the 
17   Putnam Pit web site. Is that correct, Mr. Harris? 
18   MR. HARRIS: Presumably it is an excerpt from 
19   the Putnam Pit. But his comments as to how he interprets 
20   it are totally irrelevant and speculation as to what he 
21   thinks the article means. It's his interpretation and 
22   any statements made there would be more prejudicial than 
23   probative of any reason that you've stated that you wish 
24   to introduce this into evidence. And we would certainly 
25   reserve this particular matter for further review by the

Page 47

1    court. 
2    WITNESS:       The jury can make it's own
3    determination, but this is extremely representative and 
4    characteristic of Mr. Davidian's form of journalism. 
5    MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) I'm going to move 
6    to strike that. I'm going to move to strike that. 
7    Mr. Gibson, you're not here as an attorney. And if I 
8    make an objection, the court is not here, but they would 
9    tell you, as I'm sure you have seen when you've been in a 
10   court room, that you have to stop talking when an 
11   objection is made. I am moving to strike your comments
12   as to what the jury can and will do. And I would think 
13   as an attorney you would know that and that you're
14   starting to be... your behavior is starting to become 
15   objectionable. 
16   MR. DUFFY:     Mr. Harris, what intent to do is 
17   to let the jury see the exhibit. Let them assess their 
18   interpretation and hear General Gibson's response. 
19   That's all we're going to do. We'll let the court 
20   decide. 
21   MR. HARRIS:    I agree. 
22   MR. DUFFY:     I'll move on. 
23   MR. HARRIS:    All right. Let me say this. 
24   Put this on the record. But you would agree that as a 
25   witness, he cannot tell... he is not to directly address

Page 48


1    the jury and tell them what they can and can't do.
2    MR. DUFFY:     I agree.
3    MR. HARRIS:    And I know, Mr. Gibson, you're
4    used to being an attorney and therefore you're used to 
5    talking to the jury, but you're here as a witness today. 
6    And so... 
7    WITNESS:       (Interposing) You've got it. 
8    MR. HARRIS:    Right. It's a little bit 
9    different. I understand. I've not done that in your 
10   role yet, so I wouldn't know how I would react either. 
11   BY MR. DUFFY: 
12    Q.            Mr. Gibson, let me ask you with respect 
13   to the matters of the Putnam Pit that discuss the 
14   operation of the office of the District Attorney General 
15   in the Thirteenth Judicial District, do those articles 
16   characterize that office in any kind of a fair light? 
17    A.            No. Whatsoever, no fair light at all. 
18   No objectivity, no fairness. And this is a perfect 
19   example of the kind of publication, the smut that he puts 
20   out in his publication. 
21                    (Question is stricken.) 
22     Q.           With respect to the question of whether 
23   the Putnam Pit in its articles as they address the office 
24   of the District Attorney General in the Thirteenth 
25   Judicial District, does the Putnam Pit do anything to

Page 49

1    promote the welfare of the community? 
2    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to that as a 
3    conclusory opinion, which he's certainly not an expert on 
4    that subject. And I don't know that he's qualified to
5    give a lay opinion on this particular matter.
6     Q.            Just go ahead. 
7     A.            I've never seen anything in the Putnam 
8    Pit that did anything but depreciate the well being of 
9    this community.     And I will add inappropriately in most 
10   cases. 
11    Q.            Is there anything in the Putnam Pit 
12   that you've seen as it relates to law enforcement and the
13   criminal justice system in the Putnam County area, is
14   there anything... Well, let me just ask you, how would 
15   you believe that someone thinking about locating a 
16   business here... Let's start with that, someone seeking 
17   to locate a business here or do business there, how would 
18   they interpret.., or excuse me. How would the Putnam Pit 
19   cast this area in terms of the criminal justice system? 
20   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to that 
21   question as vague. I'm not sure I understand it. And to 
22   the extent that it calls to give an opinion as to how 
23   other people would react, I'd certainly think it would be 
24   speculative and he's in no... there's no foundation that 
25   he can give that type of opinion as to what other people

Page 50


1    think. 
2    WITNESS: The misrepresentations of the 
3    Putnam Pit would, if believed, if reviewed by people, it 
4    would cast this area in such a poor light, in my realm 
5    particularly in regards to the criminal justice system. 
6    To suggest that there's dead babies in the district 
7    attorney's back yard. That the tax assessor was first 
8    prosecuted or persecuted inappropriately for political 
9    reasons, while the killer of the state senator is still 
10   running free. That the district attorney is a Cocaine 
11   user, a Cocaine addict. None of which, none of these 
12   things are true. And they cast this area in a terrible 
13   light for anybody that should happen to see it. 
14   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to move to strike that 
15   answer for the reasons previously gave. I gave the 
16   objection and it was somewhat nonresponsive. And his 
17   opinion for which he had... there's no foundation for his 
18   opinions to given. 
19     Q.           Let me ask you hypothetically if you 
20   were running... Does the district attorney general's 
21   office run a web site? 
22     A.           We don't. The district attorney's 
23   conference does, but our local office does not. 
24     Q.           If you were running a web site with web 
25   links with the goal of promoting the Putnam County area,

Page 51

1    hoping to attract businesses, hoping to attract visitors 
2    to their area, hoping to attract families who may want to
3    move here, would you believe that the Putnam Pit meets 
4    the criteria of promoting the area to such persons? 
5    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to this 
6    question as it calls for speculation. There's no
7    foundation that he can give this opinion. Any opinion he 
8    would give would be totally speculative. And there's no 
9    showing he has any knowledge whatsoever. Certainly he's 
10   indicated he's never ran a web site. And this question 
11   should be stricken. 
12   WITNESS:       I absolutely do not believe that 
13   it does anything to promote the goals of the Cookeville 
14   web site. And I can't imagine that anybody that had ever 
15   read one word of it would think differently. 
16     Q.           Your witness. 
17   MR. HARRIS:    I would object and move to
18   strike that last statement by him also as a conclusion, a
19   conclusory opinion, an ultimate question for the jury.
22                  CROSS EXAMINATION 
23   BY MR. HARRIS: 
24    Q.            Mr. Gibson, you're a politician. 
25   Correct?

Page 52


1     A.            I'm an elected official.
2     Q.            And you're a politician. Correct? 
3     A.            Depending on your definition of that.
4    Well, I run for office, yeah. 
5     Q.            Previously you gave a deposition this 
6    afternoon in which you stated yes, you were a politician, 
7    did you not? 
8     A.            I think I answered you that I am an 
9    elected official. I do run for office once every eight 
10   years. If you call that a politician, then yes, I am a 
11   politician. 
12    Q.            Well, do you call that a politician? 
13    A.            Well, politician means different things
14   to different people and often has a really poor 
15   connotation, but I am an elected official. If I'm a 
16   politician, I'm a poor one. 
17    Q.            Well, you've actually been successful 
18   as a politician if the definition of politician is 
19   somebody who runs for office, haven't you? 
20    A.            I think I've done a good job in the 
21   D. A.'s office. 
22    Q.            But you've been successful in terms 
23   that you've been able to be popularly elected? 
24    A.            I have been elected and re-elected one 
25   time. 

Page 53

1     Q.            You're a public official. Correct? 
2     A.            That's correct. 
3     Q.            You're a public servant. Correct? 
4     A.            Correct. 
5     Q.            And you would do nothing to try to 
6    misuse your office. Is that correct? 
7     A.            I would hope to never misuse my office. 
8     Q.            Okay. And as a public official, you 
9    would not deny somebody a government benefit just because 
10   you disagreed with their view point, would you? 
11    A.            So in the realm of my office, if a 
12   critic of mine came in to seek to prosecute... to seek
13   prosecution of a crime or to seek the services of the 
14   district attorney's office, and it was somebody even
15   though they were critical of me, they would still come to 
16   my office seeking our help, I guess I would talk it over 
17   with the person. I would say, you know, "You're critical 
18   of me. Would you be really comfortable having my office
19   serve your needs in this criminal matter in this case?" 
20   If they were and I felt comfortable with it, I would try 
21   to proceed with it. 
22       Otherwise, there is a procedure in place where 
23   another district attorney can be appointed. If the 
24   person said, you know, "I don't like you. I don't 
25   really... There's been a crime committed against me. I 

Page 54

1    don't want you handling it", I could get them another 
2    district attorney appointed from another part of the
3    state and have no contact with the case, but still insure 
4    that that person got the services of the D. A.'s office. 
5     Q.            Well, I will move to strike that as 
6    nonresponsive. Let me ask you the question. And I'm 
7    starting from the general... from a general move to the 
8    specific, if you will. You would not deny somebody the 
9    benefits, as a public official, you would not deny them 
10   the benefit of government services strictly because you 
11   disagree with them over their view point? 
12    A.            Well, I can speak only from the stand- 
13   point of the services that I provide. And that's just
14   what I just got through telling you that nobody should be 
15   denied, no victim of a crime should be denied a competent 
16   prosecution just because they're critical of the local 
17   D. A. 
18     Q.           Okay. Let me try this again. 
19     A.           Okay. 
20     Q.           This question seems to call for a yes 
21   and no and you don't seem to be responding that way. 
22   Would you as a public official deny someone benefits of 
23   your government office or resources of your government 
24   office because of their view point? 
25     A.           I would never deny a citizen competent 

Page 55


1    prosecution because I disagree with their view point on
2    some issue. 
3     Q.            Now, you previously took a deposition
4    that I wish to enter, but we do not have that prepared. 
5    And I will reserve the right to introduce portions of the 
6    deposition at trial. Or we can, I guess, postpone this 
7    until we can get the deposition prepared, Mr. Duffy. How 
8    do you wish to proceed? 
9    MR. DUFFY:     The deposition will be used in 
10   any way that the deposition can be used under the Federal 
11   Rules of Civil Procedure and the rulings of the court. 
12   MR. HARRIS: That's true. It will be. Well, 
13   since the deposition hasn't been prepared, since you gave
14   me such short notice for this matter, I don't have the 
15   transcript with which to confront him. And therefore I 
16   reserve the right to ... 
17   MR. DUFFY:     (Interposing) You can designate 
18   the page and line numbers of the deposition. 
19   BY MR. HARRIS: 
20     Q.           Did you not previously testify at the 
21   deposition that you said a public official could not deny 
22   someone government resources or government benefits 
23   because of a view point? 
24    A.            That's exactly what I'm saying now. 
25   Except I don't know about could not. Certainly should 

Page 56

1    not. I don't know that, you know, if a public official
2    was determined to violate ethics and moral standards that
3    he could, but he sure shouldn't.
4     Q.            Right. 
5     A.            But I can only speak in the context of
6    my office and my profession. 
7     Q.            Mr. Gibson, I'm not accusing you of 
8    denying anyone. You understand my question is not 
9    accusing you of denying anybody government benefits or 
10   government resources because of somebody's view point. 
11   I'm just getting your opinion as a public official as to 
12   how you conduct your office. 
13    A.            Well, and I want you to understand that
14   my answer is in the context of my office, which is what I 
15   assume is what you're asking. 
16    Q.            And you've stated you would not and you 
17   should not deny somebody government benefits. Correct? 
18    A.            I would not... 
19    Q.            (Interposing) Because of the view 
20   point? 
21    A.            I would not and certainly no elected 
22   district attorney should deny somebody competent 
23   prosecution because they disagree with the person's view 
24   point. 
25    Q.            And the First Amendment protects, the

Page 57


1    First Amendment of the United States Constitution
2    protects people's rights to criticize public officials.
3    Isn't that correct? 
4     A.            That is correct. 
5     Q.            And part of the protection of the First 
6    Amendment would mean that public officials cannot 
7    retaliate against individuals because they have
8    criticized a public official. Is that correct?
9     A.            Well, I assume that it would be illegal
10   and certainly morally and ethically and illegal to
11   retaliate against a citizen because they are critical of
12   your office.
13    Q.            Do you think that denying somebody
14   government resources because they're critical of a view
15   point, because that person expressed a critical view
16   point, do you think that could constitute a form of
17   retaliation?
18   MR. DUFFY:     Objection at this point on the
19   grounds that it's not relevant and it calls for a legal
20   conclusion.
21    Q.            Go ahead and answer it.
22    A.            I don't understand the question.
23    Q.            Okay. Would denying... for example-
24   I'll try it by example to help you understand--for 
25   example, if somebody had criticized you as district

Page 58


1    attorney?
2    A.             Uh-huh (affirmative response).
3    Q.             And then that person came to your
4    office for a child support collection matter?
5     A.            Uh-huh (affirmative response). 
6     Q.            I understand you've already mentioned 
7    about conflicts.But assuming they wanted your office to 
8    pursue the child collection matter, would you deny
9    somebody the right to take advantages of your office and
10   its child support collection strictly because you
11   disagreed with their view point on that?
12    A.            I can't imagine a scenario if the
13   person was comfortable with my office being the agency 
14   that pursued their matter and I was still comfortable 
15   working with the person, I can't imagine a scenario where
16   we would not go forward. But as I said before, if it 
17   were... 
18       It's a bizarre sort of question where you're telling
19   me that a person that's critical of my office is coming
20   to my office for services. Typically that person is not
21   going to come to my office. They're going to come and
22   try to find a way to get another district attorney, which
23   there is a procedure to do that.
24    Q.            And first they would probably come to
25   your office though?

Page 59

1     A.            But if the person came to my office...
2    and we have had situations where people for one reason or
3    another were uncomfortable with our office. Maybe we had 
4    prosecuted relatives of theirs in the past or for 
5    whatever reason. And we have referred those people into 
6    this process where they can get a district attorney 
7    appointed through a mutual process from another area.
8    So the question you're asking is would Is..
9    Q.             (Interposing) I'm going to move to
10   strike this as nonresponsive. I gave this example to
11   help you understand my question. I don't... And then I
12   made it clear that I understand about your conflicts of
13   interest. Point blank, it's wrong, it would be wrong, if
14   they insisted that they had a right as a citizen to child 
15   support collection, it would be wrong to deny them solely
16   because of their view point. Isn't that true? 
17    A. Yeah, that's absolutely true.
18    Q. Okay. Thank you. See, it was simple.
19    A.            But you're asking that in the context
20   of my office and I'm having to answer that in the context
21   of my office.
22    Q.            Basically I'm asking you that in the
23   context as a public official. Now, you'd agree that 
24   Geoff Davidian has published stories in the Putnam Pit
25   that have been critical of you? 

Page 60

1    A.             Geoff Davidian has published stories in
2    the Putnam Pit that have been critical of me.
3    Q.             I mean, that's just an understatement
4    practically, isn't it?
5    A.             Well, his stories have been lies and
6    innuendo and implication and...
7    Q.             (Interposing) That's not my question.
8    I'd move to strike your response.
9    A.             ... maybe it's an element of truth that
10   is spun to the point that it loses any semblance of
11   truth.
12   Q.             My question is it's pretty clear that
13   he writes negative stories about you. Correct?
14    A.            Your question was "That's an 
15   understatement, isn't it?" And yeah, that's an
16   understatement. 
17     Q.           That's how you answer a yes or no
18   question, Mr. Gibson, would you agree?
19    A.            Negative and untruthful stories.
20    Q.            Well, I didn't ask about untruthful
21   stories, did I?
22    A.            (Negative response).
23    Q.             You seem to want to... In your 
24   testimony here,     you seem to stay on that line that
25   every.., you always say that the Putnam Pit is 

Page 61

1    untruthful. Is that as a result of your discussion with
2    your attorney, the attorneys for the City of Cookeville
3    here this afternoon?
4     A.            It's a result of reading the Putnam Pit
5    over the years. 
6     Q.            Well, you don't have to put... Would
7    you agree you don't have to put that spin in every time I 
8    ask a question? 
9     A.            Well, when your question calls for that
10   answer, then I feel like I should give you that.
11    Q.            Well, if I asked if it's negative and I
12   don't ask about truth, explain to me how you feel you can
13   just add whatever you want in your testimony.
14    A.            Well, to me the explanation of whether
15   it's truthfulness or untruthful goes to the negativity of
16   it. 
17     Q. So you think the Putnam Pit is negative
18   because it's untruthful? 
19    A. I think it's extremely negative and
20   untruthful.
21    Q.            Okay. Now, previously in the
22   deposition you indicated that you had read a story in the
23   Putnam Pit that seemed to say that you had spent too much 
24   money having a sign painted on your office on Jefferson
25   Avenue? 

Page 62

 1     A.            That's correct. I did spend too much
2    money.
3     Q.            You also said that the Putnam Pit was
4    truthful.      You agreed with that expression of an
5      A.                 I didn't say the Putnam Pit was
6    truthful.      I said in that particular instance he accused
7    me of spending too much money on that sign and I did
8    spend too much money on the sign.
9     Q.            Well, it might take a while. Would you
10   like to have that portion of your deposition read to you?
11    A.            Sure. I mean, I'm not denying what you
12   say. I spent too much money on the sign and when he
13   printed that in the Putnam Pit, that particular sentence
14   was the truth.
15     Q.           Okay. So the Putnam Pit did.., that
16   story was true.     Correct?
17    A.            Well, that sentence was true. I don't
18   recall the whole story, but he accused me on that one
19   occasion of spending too much on a sign and yeah, the
20   sign turned out to be too expensive. 
21    Q.            Okay. And there's nothing wrong with
22   him writing a story that says you spent too much money on
23   something, is it? 
24    A.            There's nothing wrong with it?
25    Q.            Yeah. Is there anything wrong with him 

Page 63

 1    writing a story that said... criticizing your office for
2    spending too much money?
3     A.            No, the First Amendment gives him the
4    right to do that and in that instance, it was the truth.
5     Q.                  Okay. Mr. Davidian also wrote a story 
6 that indicated you had been critical of Judge John
7 Turnbull.         Isn't that correct? 
8     A.                  He did.
9     Q.                  And you agreed that that was true, that
10   you had made some... you had exercised your First
11   Amendment rights by criticizing John Turnbull?
12    A.            Right. I'm not sure the story in its
13   entirety fairly stated the criticism, but there was a
14   time when I was critical of Judge Turnbull. And in a 
15   story in the Putnam Pit, he did write some story about me
16   being critical of the judge. 
17    Q. Is it fair to say that... You say
18   you're not sure what other things were said or not, but
19   is it fair to say you generally disagree with
20   Mr. Davidian's view point?
21   A.             Well, it's not that I disagree with his
22   view point. It's just that he publishes things that
23   don't accurately reflect the truth.
24   Q.             Did you agree with his view point?
25   A.             I don't agree or disagree with his view 

Page 64

1    point. I disagree when I read things in there that are
2    stated in a way that I know is not true.
3     Q.            Okay. It's your opinion that they're
4    not true?
5     A.            Factually I know that they're not true.
6    And I'll give you a good example. He's implied several
7    times in the Putnam Pit...
8     Q.            (Interposing) I move to strike this.
9    I've not asked for any examples and he's answered my
10   question. 
11   MR. DUFFY:     Go ahead and complete your
12   example.
13   WITNESS:       Several times in the Putnam Pit
14   he has stated that I am a Cocaine user. One time he came
15   to my office and asked me point blank if I've ever used
16   Cocaine and I told him point blank that I have not, which 
17   is the truth. So he continues to write these articles
18   saying that I do use Cocaine. And saying that, you know, 
19   there was a headline that I had the gall to deny Cocaine
20   use, "Gibson denies Cocaine use", which implies to the
21   motoring public that obviously, you know, Gibson is a
22   Cocaine user who is now denying it. That's the
23    Q.            (Interposing) That's how you read it.
24   Isn't it that true?
25    A.            Well, I think that's a widely 

Page 65

1    accepted... and I'm not sure if they call it gutter
2    journalism or yellow dog journalism, but you suggest
3    something as being true without actually saying that it's
4    true. You send the message without actually making the
5    statement.
6     Q.            Do you deny Cocaine usage?
7     A.            Sure. I've never used Cocaine.
8     Q.            Right. So how else do you report the
9    story that you denied that?
10    A.            What is newsworthy about my denial of
11   something that's never been raised? You know, the story
12   is obvious to anybody that reads it is that he wants to
13   suggest to the public that I am a Cocaine user who is now
14   denying it. And that's just not true.
15    Q.            Do you think that's Mr. Davidian's view
16   point about that story?
17    A.            I don't know about his view point. I
18   know that he's published that and I know that it in
19   essence is a lie when taken in the big picture.
20    Q.            You don't know what his view point is
21   on that story?
22    A.            What is view point is on what story?
23    Q.            On the story "Gibson denies Cocaine 
24   usage". 
25    A.            Apparently he has a view point that I

Page 66

 1    do or at that time was a Cocaine user, which was false.
2    I do deny that.
3     Q.            Right. So that was his view point. 
4    Correct?
5     A.            Well, I can't tell you what his view 
6    point is. 
7     Q.            Well then, you just testified that you 
8    knew what his view point is.
9     A.            If his view point is that I'm a Cocaine
10   user, then I do deny it as being accurate.
11    Q.            Do you know how to tell what the view
12   point is of a story?
13    A.            No. I don't... not Mr. Davidian's 
14   stories. 
15    Q.            You don't know how to read a story and
16   tell what the view point is?
17    A.            Not Mr. Davidian's.
18    Q.            Mr. Davidian wrote an article about he
19   had gone and got public records from the City of
20   Cookeville about your grades. Do you recall testifying
21   in your deposition about that?
22    A.            I do.
23    Q.            Okay. And he reported you made a "D"
24   in English literature?
25    A.            Right.

Page 67


1     Q.            Was that true?
2     A. I think I made a "D" in English
3 literature. I didn't go back and read the transcripts, 
4 but if Mr. Davidian claims that he got the transcript, I
5 would not deny getting the "D" in English literature. 
6     Q. You also made two "D's" in American
7    History while you were at Tennessee Tech. Isn't that
8    true?
9     A.            I do recall having a hard time with
10   American History.
11    Q.            Okay. And he wrote that article. Was
12   that true or false? 
13    A.            That he wrote the article?
14    Q.            Yes. 
15    A.            I don't know. It was on the Putnam
16   Pit.
17    Q.            So you never saw that particular
18   article in the Putnam Pit?
19    A.            I did. As I'm sitting here today, I
20   can't testify who authored the article.
21    Q.            Oh, okay. 
22    A.            But I assume if it's on the Putnam Pit,
23   he either wrote it or published it.
24    Q.            Now, in that article he also wrote that
25   you were a "D" plus student at Putnam senior high. Do 

Page 68


1    you know whether that's true or not?
2     A.            He wrote that I had a particular grade
3    point average, 1.66, and I'm not sure if that's true or
4    false.         I didn't make stellar grades in high school.
5     Q.                     Okay. And so you're not saying that
6    that was a falsehood that he wrote. Correct?
7     A.            That's correct.
8     Q.            You're just saying you don't know?
9     A.            Right.
10    Q.            Okay. He also wrote that you had been
11   a dishwasher at Holiday Inn.
12    A.            That was true.
13    Q.            And that was true, right?
14    A.            I started when I was fourteen.
15    Q.            He wrote down your references when you
16   applied to be a police officer as being Mrs. Jerry 
17   Maddux, Mr. H. S. Barnes and Lonnie Hill. If he wrote
18   that, would that have been true?
19    A.            I think that's true. That was in 1976
20   and I think that was Lonnie Hillis. He was an employer
21   of mine at Holiday Inn.
22    Q.            Okay. Other than he got the name
23   right, though, basically he's written the truth about you
24   there.         Right?
25     A.           That those were my references? 

Page 69

1     Q.            Yes.
2     A.            Yeah, in that instance, that would have
3    been true.
4     Q.            Now, did you actually read the article
5    "How many dead babies in D. A. Gibson's back yard"? 
6     A.            I can't remember the... I can't really
7    remember the substance of that article. I think I read 
8    part of it and then just quit, because it's disturbing to
9    read something like that about dead babies in my back
10   yard.
11    Q.            So you didn't read.., you're now
12   testifying you didn't even read the whole article.
13   Correct? 
14    A.            Well, I've read, you know, several
15   articles on the Putnam Pit over the years. I've read in
16   their entirety and several I've scanned and others I've 
17   just sort of gotten the substance of and quit. It seems
18   like that article was about Methamphetamine.
19    Q.            I understand that. My question to you
20   was did you read that whole article?
21    A.            I'm not sure.
22    Q.            You're not sure. It's possible you
23   didn't read the whole article. Correct?
24    A.            Obviously.
25   MR. DUFFY:     Have you got the article? He 

Page 70

1    could look at it and tell you.
2    MR. HARRIS:    Is that an objection,
3    Mr. Duffy? 
4    MR. DUFFY:     No, it was a suggestion to speed
5    up the proceeding. I'm sorry for interfering. Go ahead. 
6    MR. HARRIS:    Yes. I object to that as you 
7    took up a substantial amount of time. I'm going as best
8    I can. 
9    WITNESS:       I could read the article and
10   tell you more accurately.
12    Q.            Well, I've not asked you about the
13   article. I'm simply asking whether you read the whole
14   article or not? 
15    A.            Well, if I could read the article now,
16   I could tell you for sure. 
17    Q.            But you're not sure, are you? 
18    A.            No, I'm not.
19    Q.            Okay. So when you comment on the
20   Putnam Pit, there's a lot of articles that you haven't
21   read that have been on the Putnam Pit. Correct?
22    A.            I'm sure there's a lot of articles that
23   have been on the Putnam Pit that I haven't read.
24    Q.            So it's possible that there's articles
25   that have been on the Putnam Pit that were positive about

Page 71

1    Cookeville, contrary to your opinion that nothing on the
2    Putnam Pit is positive about Cookeville?
3     A.            All I can say is I've never seen
4    anything on the Putnam Pit that suggested anything
5    positive about Cookeville.
6     Q.            But you've also said you haven't...
7    You've also now testified that you haven't read every 
8    article on the Putnam Pit?
9     A. Sure. It would be ludicrous to say
10   you've read every article that's ever been published in
11   some publication. I don't sit down and read it cover to
12   cover. 
13    Q. Would it be equally ludicrous then to 
14   say that you've never seen a positive article in the 
15   Putnam Pit when you haven't made an effort to see every
16   article in the Putnam Pit? 
17    A.            Well, I read the Putnam Pit, at least
18   the headlines, fairly thoroughly for a period of time.
19   But I can't say that I've read every article that's ever
20   been published. I think if he ever wrote anything
21   positive about Cookeville and Putnam County it would be
22   probably the talk of the town, but I don't know.
23   Q.             But you don't know, right? So your
24   testimony basically here is just speculation of your view
25   point about the Putnam Pit. Isn't that true?

Page 72

 1    A.             Well, it's not my view point. I'm
2    saying factually I've read a lot of the Putnam Pit and I
3    know the tone of the Putnam Pit. And I personally have
4    never seen anything positive or anything that's not
5    negative about Cookeville, Putnam County and the 
6    individuals that live and work here on the Putnam Pit.
7    Q. Now, would you agree that 
8    Methamphetamines is a problem in the Thirteenth Judicial
9    District?
10   A.             Absolutely.
11   Q.             And your office tries to correct that
12   problem, don't they?
13   A.             Well, law enforcement in general is
14   struggling with that problem in this whole area. All of
15   the Cumberland Plateau and a lot of places in the
16   country.       Our office does our part. We prosecute the 
17   cases. 
18    Q.            And you would agree that the
19   Methamphetamine problem in this area has an effect on the
20   economic welfare of this area. Correct?
21   A.             I would assume that Methamphetamine, a
22   Methamphetamine problem has an impact on the economic
23   welfare here as anywhere.
24   Q.             And you also previously testified in
25   your deposition that the Methamphetamine problem has an

Page 73


1    impact on industry in this area. Correct?
2    A.             I assume that drug use, including
3    Methamphetamine, has an impact on industry here and
4    everywhere else.
5    Q.             And it's your responsibility... You
6    have a responsibility as the top law enforcement
7    prosecutor in this area to at least address these 
8    problems, don't you?
9     A.            I do.
10    Q.            Do you have any problem with
11   Mr. Davidian writing about how you address these
12   problems?
13    A.            Do I have a problem with it?
14    Q.            Just in general. Obviously you don't
15   like his opinion about how you go about doing it, because
16   he obviously.., you would agree with me that 
17   Mr. Davidian obviously does not think you do a good job
18   no matter what you do. Correct? 
19    A.            Correct.
20    Q.            Okay. But nonetheless, you would agree
21   that the First Amendment allows him to criticize you and
22   make statements and publish statements about how you go
23   about addressing the drug problem in this area?
24    A.            I think so, but I think the First
25   Amendment requires that it not be slanderous or libelous.

Page 74

1    And I think there's an implication that there be some
2    element of truth to what he's saying. There's no dead
3    babies in my back yard.
4     Q.            Okay. Is it possible that that was a
5    figure of speech? 
6     A.            I guess it's possible, but I don't know
7    how...         You know, how would it be read?
8     Q.            Well...
9     A.            (Interposing) If there's a headline
10   that says "Dead babies in the D. A.'s back yard", what 
11   does that say?
12    Q.            Mr. Gibson, you live in an apartment,
13   too, don't you?     U
14    A.            Sure. 
15    Q.            You don't really have a back yard, do
16   you? 
17    A.            I do have a back yard. 
18    Q.            At the apartment complex? 
19    A.            Yes, sir. 
20    Q.            Oh, okay. Sorry. Well, in any event,
21   isn't it possible.. .Let me ask you this. Methamphetamine
22   has had a tremendous impact on children in this area.
23   Correct? 
24    A.            Everywhere Methamphetamine exists, it
25   impacts children, because the people that manufacture 

Page 75

1    Methamphetamine that have children manufacture the drug
2    in their homes often with their children there. And the
3    process of manufacturing Methamphetamine is very
4    dangerous and it involves chemical processes that put off
5    fumes. And this is a very difficult situation for 
6    children to be in, but it's not a situation that's unique 
7    to Cookeville or this area. It's unique... it's 
8    everywhere that Methamphetamine is manufactured.
9     Q. Right. But I guess the answer to that
10   question is that the Methamphetamine problem could be
11   detrimental and harmful to children. Correct?
12    A.            I don't know.
13    Q.            You don't know whether Methamphetamines
14   can be harmful to children?
15    A.            That's not what you asked.
16    Q.            Well, all right. I'm asking it now. 
17    A.            Methamphetamine is inherently harmful
18   to children.
19    Q.            Okay. And so if children die as the
20   result of Geoff alleging, Geoff Davidian alleging that
21   you're not doing a good job, isn't it possible that
22   that's what he means by "How many dead babies in D. A.
23   Gibson's back yard"?
24    A.            If children died as a result of his
25   allegation?

Page 76

1     Q.            No. If... You're right. That's pretty
2    confusing. Let me try to break it down. If the gist of
3    the article is that you're not doing a good job, 
4    regardless of whether that's true or not, if
5    Mr. Davidian expresses that opinion, isn't it possible he 
6    simply means you're not doing a good job and that could
7    result in the deaths of children as a result of the 
8    Methamphetamine problem? 
9     A.            Well, I don't know how to predict what
10   Mr. Davidian means when he writes an article with the
11   headline "Dead babies in the D. A.'s back yard". If he
12   is suggesting through that article that--and I can't sit
13   here and tell you that I know the content of the article, 
14   because I'm not sure which article even that we're 
15   talking about--but anything is possible. I can't sit
16   here and tell you that it's impossible, what he may have 
17   meant.
18      But I do know the headline "Dead babies in District
19   Attorney Gibson's back yard" suggests a lot of things
20   that would come to the reader's mind ahead of that. The
21   D. A. is a child killer. The D. A. is hiding...You know,
22   the D. A. is a John Wayne Gacey (spelled phonetically).
23   The D. A. has got dead bodies buried all around in his
24   yard.
25       I don't even know what percentage of the population 

Page 77

1    would read past the headline. Or beyond that, what
2    percentage of the population would understand the
3    implications being made in the body of the article by
4    Mr. Davidian.
5     Q.            Well, isn't Mr. Davidian... Doesn't the
6    fact that Mr. Davidian writes that headline suggest that
7    he has greater faith in the intelligence of the Putnam 
8    Pit readership than you do? 
9     A. I think Mr. Davidian writes that
10   article because he wants to attack me and everybody else
11   around here in any way he can. Regardless of the truth
12   or the implication or the innuendo.
13    Q.            Well, actually when you read that
14   article, it only attacks you. It doesn't attack
15   everybody else around here, does it?
16    A.            I don't know if that particular article
17   does or not, but the next one probably goes on to the 
18   next person that he's got a vendetta against.
19    Q.            Well, you know, you're speculating here
20   and I would move to strike that, that statement. By the
21   way, we've referred to this article as being "How many
22   dead babies in Bill Gibson's back yard" as being by Geoff
23   Davidian, but the by line that you read earlier did say
24   it was by C. D. Norman. Isn't that true?
25    A.            I think that's true. 

Page 78

1     Q.            Do you know C. D. Norman?
2     A.            I don't.
3     Q.            Okay. 
4     A.            I assumed that was just a co-name of 
5    Geoff Davidian. 
6     Q.            Okay. 
7     A.            I didn't know that there is a real
8    C. D. Norman. 
9     Q.            So you've made a lot of assumptions
10   about what you've read in the Pit without knowing all of
11   the facts. Is that what you're saying?
12   A.             Well, the things that I've read in the
13   Pit speak for themselves.
14   Q.             Well, my question to you is have you
15   made assumptions about things you read in the Pit without
16   knowing all of the facts?
17   A.             No.
18   Q.             Well, you just said you assumed that
19   C. D. Norman was a made up name, didn't you?
20   A.             Well, that's not the substance of
21   something I've read in the Pit. You know, the Pit has
22   got lawyer-ex and gorilla student-ex and advocate-ex and
23   all of these anonymous names. You know, "lawyer-ex 
24   interviewed witness-ex, who says the D. A. is on
25   Cocaine". 

Page 79

1    Q.             But you...
2    A.             (Interposing) So I assume that Geoff
3    Davidian is the type of person who writes either under a
4    lot of different names or accepts a lot of anonymous
5    authorship. 
6     Q.            (Interposing) Well, you...
7     A.            (Interposing) There's some reason that 
8    they want to hide the names and I assume that
9    C. D. Norman is probably not a real person or is a real
10   person and that's not their real name.
11    Q.            Well, previously this was made an
12   exhibit. This is... Mr. Gibson, I apologize. Let me
13   identify that. We have not used, for purposes of this 
14   video deposition, we have not used exhibit numbers. But 
15   if you have it, I'd like to keep this one. You were
16   handed an exhibit by Mr. Duffy that starts out, "It's 
17   Bash Bill Gibson time".
18   MR. DUFFY:     Mr. Harris, let me suggest this. 
19   Everything that I have shown him consists of three
20   documents. Why don't we make those one, two, three and
21   this four?
22   MR. HARRIS:    Well, you did show him this
23   article, too, "It's Bash Bill Gibson time".
24   MR. DUFFY:     That's this. Yeah.
25   MR. HARRIS:    Right.

Page 80

1    MR. DUFFY:     Okay. Exhibit...
2    MR. HARRIS:    Which I don't know. You've not
3    designated it. 
4    MR. DUFFY:     We'll compare. Go ahead with
5    your question. 
6    BY MR. HARRIS: 
7     Q.            We're referring to what you were
8    previously shown on direct examination as... the article 
9    that's starting out "It's Bash Bill Gibson time".
10    A.            Okay.
11    Q.            Let me show you this one, because this
12   is a little bit better printout. Do you see the picture
13   at the bottom of the page that says C. D. Norman?
14    A.            I don't.
15    Q.            It starts out and says C. D. Norman
16   went to high school with you?
17    A.            Uh-huh (affirmative response).
18    Q.            Do you see his picture?
19    A.            Uh-huh (affirmative response).
20    Q.            Do you recognize that person?
21    A.            No. Does the initials C. D. stand for
22   some other.., do you know of a name that I can try to...
23    Q.            It's a good question, because to tell
24   you the truth, I don't know. I don't know his name any
25   other way either, so I wish I could help you. 

Page 81

1    A.             I don't remember going to high school
2    with a C. D. Norman and assume that that's a lie.
3    Q.             Okay. Well, when you saw this and you
4    saw this picture, if you still assumed that C. D. Norman,
5    Sonny Boy was a made up name? 
6     A. Yeah. You know, if there's a person
7    whose picture that is that claims they went to high 
8 school with me. What does it say, helped tutor me with
9    English or something? I assume that that's all a lie.
10   Q.             Well, you seem to make a lot of
11   assumptions that are negative, in your opinion, about
12   Geoff Davidian and the Putnam Pit, don't you?
13   A.             Well, I don't recognize the picture.
14   I've never heard of a C. D. Norman, who claims to have
15   gone to high school with me. And I think it's fair to
16   assume that that's not true.
17   Q.             Do you know for a fact whether or not
18   Geoff Davidian has spoken with sources that indicated
19   that you had used Cocaine?
20   A.             No. I asked him one time, you know, if
21   there really were these sources and it seems like he said
22   that he couldn't tell me that or something.
23   Q.             When you indicated that there's a lot
24   of anonymous names or that he doesn't want to reveal
25   sources, is it possible that it's because you're a

Page 82

1    politically powerful person and capable of retribution
2    against these individuals if their names were known?
3    A.             I don't think Mr. Davidian could ever
4    cite an instance where I've used any power of the D. A. 'S
5    office to take retribution on anybody. 
6     Q.            That's not what I asked you. Is it
7    possible that he doesn't want to reveal these names 
8    because of your political position? 
9     A.            I don't know what's possible or
10   impossible with him.
11    Q.            (Interposing) I'm not talking about
12   what's possible or impossible with him. Is it possible
13   that you might, that you... Isn't it true that you're in
14   a powerful political position here in Putnam County?
15    A.            Well, I've got a position that is
16   looked upon as politically powerful. 
17    Q. Okay. And so some people may not want 
18   to publicly put their name out there when they give a
19   false opinion or a negative opinion... not necessarily a
20   false opinion, but a negative opinion about you?
21    A.            Well, that's certainly possible. A
22   false opinion is.
23    Q.            (Interposing) What about a negative?
24   I'll grant you that. It's pretty clear if somebody is
25   going to lie about you, that would be a pretty stupid 

Page 83

1    thing to do against the district attorney, wouldn't it?
2     A.            If somebody wants to publish some
3    publication and a web page that's full of lies and
4    innuendo and slander, then I could see where the person
5    would not want to put their name on it. 
6     Q.            But what about other people who...
7    what if there are other people who actually wrote these 
8    articles? 
9     A.            What do you mean?
10    Q.            What if there's a lawyer-ex for
11   example? And he may not want his identity revealed if he
12   writes a critical article about you. Isn't it possible
13   he might not want to do that because of your position as
14   the district attorney?
15    A.            What if there is really a lawyer-ex,
16   would it be possible that this possible lawyer-ex would 
17   not want to put his name on these articles that lie about
18   me?
19    Q.            Because of possible retribution from
20   you?
21    A.            I guess. Sure.
22    Q.            So the point is you really don't know
23   whether these people exist or not, do you?
24    A.            I sure don't.
25    Q.            And you've just assumed that 

Page 84

1    Mr. Davidian made these up, names up. Right?
2     A.            Well, I assumed from the harmony of the
3    tone of all of these opinions that come from...
4     Q.            (Interposing) Mr. Gibson, true or
5    false, yes or no, did you assume that these names were
6    made up? 
7     A.            Lawyer-ex and... 
8     Q.            (Interposing) C. D. Norman. 
9     A.            ... dog-ex and C. D. Norman. I assumed
10   that a lot of those names were made up.
11    Q.            And that Geoff Davidian was the sole
12   author of these points of view. Correct? That was your
13   opinion about the Putnam Pit. Right?
14    A.            Yeah. And that's based on the fact
15   that they all seemed to make the same statement in
16   different harmonies. 
17    Q. Now, Mr. Davidian wrote negative things
18   about Byron Looper. Isn't that true?
19    A.            I don't remember a lot of that. I
20   think he at one point wrote an article that, you know,
21   Byron Looper was a good guy, a target of persecution, but
22   Byron Looper certainly, you know... he needs to
23   straighten up and not disappoint everybody.
24    Q.            What article are you referring to?
25    A.            I'm not sure. 

Page 85

1     Q.            You're not sure, are you? 
2     A.            All of the stuff in the Putnam Pit is
3    sort of, at some point it blends in your brain. 
4     Q.            And you have your assumptions about 
5    what's in the Pit, but you don't know whether that 
6    article exists or not, do you? 
7     A.            No, I know I read the article. 
8     Q.            Okay. Even in this article of "Bible 
9    Belt welts"--I'm not sure what number we're using. That 
10   one right there. That's correct. Doesn't it say in the 
11   first paragraph, "Looper, an insatiable office seeker"? 
12     A.           Where are you reading? 
13     Q.           Well, look in the first... it's the
14   first paragraph. That would be that first block of 
15   sentences. 
16     A.           Below Caesar? 
17     Q.           See the dateline Cookeville, Tennessee? 
18     A.           Cookeville, Tennessee, okay. 
19     Q.           Referring to that as the first 
20   paragraph of the article. 
21     A.           Okay. 
22     Q.           The last sentence, does it not say, 
23   "Looper, an insatiable office seeker, opposed Burks's 
24   re-election on the state ballot two weeks later"? Is 
25   that not what that sentence says? 

Page 86


1     A.            Uh-huh (affirmative response). 
2     Q.           That's hardly a favorable view of Byron 
3    Looper, is it? 
4     A.            An insatiable office seeker? 
5     Q.            Yes. 
6     A.            I guess it's kind of a neutral. It's 
7    not a favorable or unfavorable. 
8     Q. Do you know what insatiable means? 
9     A. Yes. And I know what a paragraph is, 
10   too. 
11    Q. Okay. 
12    A. But what I'm saying is I don't read 
13   that statement as being particularly favorable or 
14   disfavorable. It's saying he's a person that 
15   continuously seeks office. 
16    Q. Okay. Okay. Well, let's go down to 
17   the last paragraph on this page. And doesn't this 
18   article also say, "It is a miracle that Looper, an 
19   ornery, egotistical, thoroughly vain and political man, 
20   whose political life displayed little in the way of 
21   family values or sentimentality, could garner such a 
22   presumption of innocence in a district where the D. A. 's 
23   election was peppered with the slogan..."? And it says 
24   that on that page. Now, the part I just read, do you 
25   think that calling Byron Looper ornery and egotistical is

Page 87

1    being favorable to Byron Looper?
2    A.             Well, I think Mr. Davidian has to
3    demonstrate some semblance of objectivity to try to keep 
4    an audience. And the purpose of this paragraph is to say 
5    that Looper can't get a fair trial and to talk about my 
6    election being peppered with the slogan "I have faith in 
7    God", which I have no idea where that came from, as a 
8    campaign slogan. 
9     Q.            (Interposing) Okay. So you're 
10   saying... 
11    A.            (Interposing) What I'm saying is that 
12   Mr. Davidian apparently has to do something to disguise 
13   his inherent support of Byron Looper.
14    Q.            I see. So when Geoff Davidian writes
15   things... when he writes negative things about Byron 
16   Looper, he's disguising some hidden intent. Is that your 
17   view point regarding the Putnam Pit? 
18    A.            If you take that in the context of 
19   everything that he's ever written about Burks and 
20   Looper... 
21    Q.            (Interposing) Is that your view point 
22   regarding the Putnam Pit? 
23    A.            ... then it would be my view point. 
24    Q.            Mr. Gibson, my question is, is that 
25   your view point regarding the Putnam Pit? That whenever

Page 88

1    Geoff writes something negative about Byron Looper, that
2    he's doing that to disguise some hidden intent? Is that
3    your view point of what the Putnam Pit does? Yes or no? 
4     A.            That is my view point in the context of 
5    the overall tone of support that he has always shown for 
6    Byron Looper. I'm saying that he has to say something to 
7    appear to be halfway objective. 
8     Q.            At the time you did the Byron Looper 
9    trial, was there not a story going around that was 
10   covered that John Wayne Dedmon had been told to set 
11   Looper up? Was that not an issue either in the trial or 
12   in the pre-trial litigation of that criminal case? 
13    A.            It was never a real issue. One of the 
14   defense attorneys, one of the prior defense attorneys-- 
15   not the ones that took it to trial--produced a tape that 
16   was allegedly made by John Wayne Dedmon that purported to 
17   be a conversation with me telling him to set up Byron 
18   Looper. And that tape was brought into court. It was 
19   played. Everybody agreed that the voice on the tape 
20   could not possibly have been mine. And... 
21    Q.            (Interposing) Is there anything... 
22    A.            (Interposing) John Wayne Dedmon came 
23   forward and made a statement to the F.B.I. that he had 
24   produced that tape with the assistance of Jerry Burgess 
25   and Byron Looper. They had hired an actor to portray me

Page 89

1    on the tape. And...
2     Q.            (Interposing) Well, I've never seen
3    this tape, but my point is whether... 
4     A.            (Interposing) Well, it's an audio tape. 
5     Q.            We don't need to retry the whole Looper 
6    case.          Was this not an issue raised in the trial? 
7     A.            It was never an issue raised in the 
8    trial. 
9     Q.            Well, you just said the tape was 
10   introduced at trial. It was introduced by a defense 
11   attorney. Don't you think... 
12    A.            (Interposing) No, I said the tape was 
13   introduced pre-trial by an attorney...
14    Q.             (Interposing) Pre-trial. Pre-trial. 
15    A.            ... that was not an attorney at the 
16   trial. 
17    Q.            And you don't think that that story was 
18   newsworthy? 
19    A.            I don't know whether it was newsworthy 
20   or not. It was nonsense. It came to the surface and was 
21   verified as nonsense by Dedmon. 
22     Q.           But is there any problem with the press 
23   reporting this story? 
24    A.            Sure. There's no problem with that at 
25   all. 

Page 90

1     Q.            Right.
2     A.            Of course, Mr. Davidian has never... 
3     Q.            (Interposing) I'd move to strike this
4    as... I know you... Are you trying to get in a spin in 
5    favor of the city here? Do you want to help them? 
6     A.            No. You asked if there was a problem 
7    in reporting that. And there's not a problem in 
8    reporting that if the whole truth is reported. And that 
9    includes that John Wayne Dedmon came forward and said 
10   this was all bogus. And you'll never find that in the 
11   Putnam Pit. 
12    Q.            Well, how do you know you won't find it 
13   in the Putnam Pit if you've never read all of the
14   articles? 
15    A.            If it's in there, I'd like to see it. 
16    Q.            Well, we'll certainly be introducing 
17   that at trial. Now, we need to get to the thing about 
18   the traffic ticket case. You might find yours a little 
19   bit quicker than I will. 
20   MR. DUFFY:     Before you leave that, did I 
21   understand Counsel to say there was a representation that 
22   an exhibit will be forthcoming where during the material 
23   times in 19--... What year was that? 
24   MR. HARRIS: (Interposing) I'm going to 
25   object to any statements like this.

Page 91

1    MR. DUFFY:     All right.
2    MR. HARRIS:    We can discuss the introduction
3    of exhibits off the record. 
4    MR. O'MARA:    Well, then don't make those kind 
5    of statements on the record, Mr. Harris. 
6    MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to 
7    Mr. O'Mara's interrupting these proceedings. He is not 
8    the attorney of record and I'm not going to sit here and 
9    fend off two objections from an attorney. Now, he's made 
10   several comments. He knows that's out of place. And I 
11   want to know who am I dealing with objections from in 
12   this case? 
13   MR. O'MARA:    You'll be dealing with 
14   objections from Mr. Duffy and you will find... 
15   MR. HARRIS:    (Interposing) If I'm dealing 
16   with objections from Mr. Duffy... 
17   MR. O'MARA:    (Interposing) Mr. Harris? You 
18   will find... 
19   MR. HARRIS:    ... then I think Mr. Duffy 
20   should address this question. You are not... 
21   MR. O'MARA:    (Interposing) You will find that 
22   I am attorney of record from the very first pleading 
23   filed in this case and I'm still of record in this case. 
24   MR. HARRIS:    That's correct. And I move to 
25   strike all of this from the video tape.

Page 92

1    MR. O'MARA:    Go ahead.
2    MR. HARRIS:    Because if... Hold up,
3    Mr. Duffy.     This is... If you want, we can go off the
4    record. 
5    MR. DUFFY:     Let's do. 
6    MR. O'MARA:    The jury is not going to hear it 
7    anyway. It's just babble. 
8    MR. HARRIS:    Let's just go off the record 
9    anyway. 
10   MR. DUFFY:     Yeah. 
11   MR. O'MARA:    We're not going anywhere. We're 
12   going to finish the deposition.
13   MR. HARRIS:    Can you control your co-counsel? 
14   MR. DUFFY:     Sam, just...
15   MR. HARRIS:    Can you control your co-counsel? 
16   MR. DUFFY:     Are we off here?
17                  (Off the record.) 
18   MR. DUFFY:           I'm going to need the record 
19   read back to my last question before the interruption of 
20   Mike O'Mara. 
21                  (Whereupon question is played back for 
22   witness.) 
23   BY MR. DUFFY: 
24    Q.            Mr. Gibson, if you would, I don't know 
25   if you have a copy of that. This has been pre-marked by

Page 93

1    me as Plaintiff's Exhibit 5 to be introduced at trial.
2    Have you ever seen this particular edition of the Putnam
3    Pit?
4     A.            I have. 
5     Q.            Okay. If I could see Exhibit 5, pre- 
6    marked Exhibit 5? Mr. Davidian... 
7    MR. DUFFY:     (Interposing) Before you...
8    Mr. Harris, are you telling us that Exhibit 5 is an 
9    edition of the Putnam Pit? Because it's not identified. 
10   MR. HARRIS:    Yes. I'm identifying this as a 
11   particular edition of the Putnam Pit. 
12   MR. DUFFY:     All right. Thank you. 
14    Q.            Do you remember the article he wrote 
15   about the child lures program? 
16    A.            Which one? 
17    Q.            In the Putnam Pit? 
18    A.            I know the Putnam Pit, but which 
19   article? 
20    Q.            This one right here on the front page 
21   of there. 
22    A.            I think he wrote several. I don't 
23   particularly remember. 
24    Q.            Well, it would be the first article on 
25   the first page.

Page 94

1    A.             Okay. But doesn't it continue on to
2    page four? Actually, no. Okay. What about it?
3    Q.             In that article, Mr. Davidian... You
4    had... Had you not said you were not going to use 
5    campaign money to put up signs in people's yards? He 
6    wrote that. Was that true? 
7     A.            That was true. 
8     Q.            Okay. And in fact, you had suggested 
9    that you would donate money to the child lures program. 
10   Correct? 
11    A.            That's correct. 
12    Q.            But in fact, it would have been a 
13   violation of campaign law to donate money to the child 
14   lures program because that was a for profit business. 
15   Correct? 
16     A.           I don't know that buying programs to 
17   prevent abduction of children and giving them to the 
18   Putnam County school system would violate any campaign 
19   laws. 
20        I bought signs. I bought bumper stickers and signs 
21   in prior elections from organizations that are for 
22   profit. I bought ads in newspapers with campaign 
23   donations for newspapers that are for profit businesses. 
24       The benefactor of the child lures programs would be 
25   the school systems that would use those programs with the

Page 95

1    kids and that would not be a violation.
2     Q.            But the profit... the money that you
3    would pay from your campaign's fund would have gone to 
4    that for profit corporation. Correct? 
5     A.              All of the money that you spend out of 
6    a campaign fund goes to a for profit corporation. 
7     Q.              In this particular case. Let's try to 
8    just deal with what I particularly ask you. In this 
9    particular case, did you actually spend the money on the 
10   child lures program? 
11    A.              Yeah, I think I spend some money on the 
12   child lures. 
13    Q.            Okay. 
14    A.            I know I have at some point. 
15    Q.            But that was an issue of concern during 
16   the election.  Correct? 
17    A.            What? 
18    Q.            The donations to the child lures 
19   program? 
20   MR. DUFFY:     I object to the form of the 
21   question. Issue of concern to whom? 
22    Q.            Well, was it an issue of concern to you 
23   during the campaign? 
24    A.            I had an idea... 
25    Q.            (Interposing) The expense of your 

Page 96

1    campaign--let me clarify from his objection and rephrase 
2    and that will help you. The spending of your campaign 
3    money is always an issue in your campaign, isn't it? 
4     A.            Sure. 
5     Q.            Okay. And a public campaign for a 
6    public office is an issue of public concern. Isn't that 
7    correct? 
8     A.            A public campaign for public office is 
9    an issue of public concern. 
10    Q.            All right. There's nothing wrong with 
11   the press writing bout a public campaign, is it? 
12     A.           Certainly not.
13    Q.            Now, there was a special Byron Looper 
14   memorial insert. Do you have that, Mr. Duffy?
15   MR. DUFFY:     (Nods head yes).
16    Q.            And does that not say that... does that
17   not refer to Byron Looper as a guilty man, saying you 
18   were trying to frame a guilty man? 
19    A.            It says, "Only in Tennessee the 
20   District Attorney frames a guilty man". 
21    Q.            Okay. Isn't that saying that he... 
22   isn't the Putnam Pit saying that Byron Looper is guilty? 
23    A.            I guess. 
24    Q.            But doesn't it have the view point that 
25   maybe you're not doing a good job in prosecuting the

Page 97

1    case? Do you think that's what that's suggesting? 
2     A.            It's suggesting that I would frame 
3    somebody who is guilty. 
4     Q.            And in your view point, you wouldn't do 
5    that, would you, Mr. Gibson? 
6     A.            That's not my view point. I can tell 
7    you I wouldn't do that. 
8     Q.            Yeah. That's your opinion. You 
9    wouldn't frame a guilty man, would you? 
10    A.            Well, it's not my opinion. It's not 
11   something that's subject to an opinion. It's a fact. 
12    Q. Well, how could it be a fact if it's a 
13   speculation about what actions you would or would not 
14   take? 
15    A.            It's not speculation. I can sit here 
16   and tell you as a fact I would never frame an innocent 
17   man. I would never frame a guilty man, whatever that 
18   means. 
19    Q.            But you indicated that you thought... 
20   and there was some attempt to say that Byron... that the 
21   Putnam Pit was... Is this another example of the Putnam 
22   Pit saying something negative about Byron Looper in order 
23   to achieve objectivity? 
24     A.           It's an example of the Putnam Pit 
25   saying something bizarre.

Page 98

1     Q.            Okay. And that's your opinion. Right?
2     A.            Yeah. 
3     Q.            Now, I believe earlier today you
4    indicated to me that you thought the Putnam Pit had 
5    diminished in the last four years. Did you say that? 
6     A.            I feel that their readership, the stir 
7    that the Putnam Pit would make around here has diminished 
8    over the course of the past... some period of time. I 
9    don't know that I said four years. But I know that 
10   initially that a lot of people talked about it and got 
11   upset about it and now everybody sort of just... the 
12   targets of the Pit sort of ignore it. 
13    Q.            And the Putnam Pit doesn't have the
14   impact that it once did, does it? 
15    A.            With me it doesn't. I think the 
16   people, the readers, if there are readers of the Putnam 
17   Pit, have begun to see it really for what it is. 
18    Q.            I'm going to move to strike that as 
19   nonresponsive to any question and also him offering a 
20   speculative opinion about what other people think, which 
21   there's no foundation that he has any basis for making 
22   that opinion and we'd move to strike it. 
23   MR. DUFFY:     The witness is explaining his 
24   answer. Go ahead. 
25   MR. HARRIS:    And that hardly that constitutes 

Page 99

1    an explanation of his answer which dealt with what he
2    thought. 
3    BY MR. DUFFY:
4     Q.            Now, Geoff Davidian is not an attorney, 
5    is he? 
6     A.            I don't know. 
7     Q.            Okay. As far as you know, he's not 
8    though, right? 
9     A.            I've never heard him present himself as 
10   an attorney. 
11    Q.            Okay. So when he was being prosecuted 
12   for the fifty dollar traffic ticket, it's possible he 
13   didn't know all of the legal procedures. Correct? 
14    A.            I have no idea. 
15    Q.            Okay. 
16    A.            I was not involved in that and have no 
17   idea what he knew or didn't know. 
18     Q.           okay. But you previously testified 
19   that you thought you knew what he was doing regarding the 
20   subpoenaing of you? 
21     A.           He subpoenaed me into his traffic 
22   ticket case and asked me to bring an open investigation 
23   file. And I think he subpoenaed not only my file, but 
24   any other files of law enforcement that I had access to. 
25   I'm not positive. But on some matter that was totally 

Page 100

1    irrelevant to the traffic ticket. But I don't know the 
2    issues of his traffic ticket and certainly not of the law
3    he knew or didn't know at that time. 
4     Q.            Well, even if he knew it wasn't... 
5    Even if it wasn't appropriate to subpoena you, he's not 
6    an attorney. If he's not an attorney, he wouldn't 
7    necessarily.., he might make a mistake regarding what's 
8    relevant or irrelevant in a traffic ticket case. Isn't 
9    that correct? Isn't that possible rather? 
10    A.            He might make a mistake as to the 
11   relevance of... 
12    Q.            Of your testimony in that case. 
13    A. Of the investigation in a murder being
14   relevant to his traffic ticket? 
15    Q.            That's correct. 
16    A.            He might have made that mistake, I 
17   guess. 
18    Q.            You've made mistakes as an attorney. 
19   We all make mistakes, don't we? 
20    A.            Sure. But I don't think that I've 
21   ever... I mean, I don't think Mr. Davidian is an idiot. 
22   I think he knows what's relevant to what issue. And I 
23   don't think there's an argument that he thought I was 
24   relevant to his traffic case. I don't know. I can't 
25   tell you what he was thinking, but that's pretty far Page


1    removed from what he was doing.
2     Q.            Is it fair to say that all of your
3    comments and opinions about the Putnam Pit are based upon 
4    the content of the Putnam Pit? 
5     A.            Most of my opinions about the Putnam 
6    Pit are based on the content of the Putnam Pit. 
7     Q.            All right. And I'll make this very 
8    simple, yes or no. You generally don't like the content 
9    of the Putnam Pit, do you? 
10    A.            No, I don't think the content of the 
11   Putnam Pit fairly characterizes the community I grew up 
12   in or the people that I work with or me. I don't think 
13   it puts... I think it removes any semblance of truth 
14   from the truth. The articles are spun in such a way, 
15   "Dead baby in Gibson's back yard", "D. A. denies Cocaine 
16   use". What kind of person would I be if I sat here and 
17   told you, "Yeah, I like that kind of stuff"? 
18    Q.            Well, that's true. And yet despite the 
19   fact that you don't like it, you don't think that based 
20   upon... You would agree that the expression of his view 
21   point is not a basis for denying him government benefits 
22   or government resources or services? 
23   MR. DUFFY:     I continue to object to this 
24   line of questioning to the extent it calls for some kind
25   of legal conc1usion or pinion that might be relevant to

Page 102

1    the facts of this case.
2     A.            You're going to have to... I was
3    wrestling with the question the first time. 
4     Q.            All right. I'll have the court 
5    reporter... 
6                   (Whereupon question is played back for 
7    witness.) 
8     Q.            I want to make sure it's clear. This 
9    question, I'm going to repeat it for him subject to your 
10   objection so you don't have to repeat the objection. Is 
11   that all right? 
12   MR. DUFFY:     Uh-huh (affirmative response). 
13    Q.            All right. Mr. Gibson, would you agree
14   that just because Mr. Davidian has expressed a view point 
15   that you personally disagree with, that would not give a 
16   government official the right to deny him government 
17   benefits or government resources? 
18    A.            I would agree that nobody should be 
19   denied some benefit they're entitled to simply because 
20   they've expressed an opinion, be it the truth or a lie, 
21   that is unpopular with the person that would grant the 
22   resource otherwise. 
23    Q.            Thank you, Mr. Gibson. 
24    A.            You're welcome, Mr. Harris. 
25   MR. DUFFY:     Are you done? 

Page 103

1    MR. HARRIS:    I'm done.
2    (Mr. Duffy's first question is
3    stricken.)
7    BY MR. DUFFY: 
8     Q.            Has anything your office has done with 
9    respect to the prosecution of Methamphetamine manufacture 
10   in your judicial district, to your knowledge, had any 
11   adverse effect on children? 
12    A.            Not to my knowledge. We take issues 
13   involving, especially issues involving children very
14   seriously and I don't know. If Mr. Davidian could point 
15   to something factually, I'd sure like to see it. 
16    Q.            What is your conviction rate like with 
17   respect to Methamphetamine cases?
18   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to the 
19   relevance of this as being broad and a waste of 
20   the court's time and inefficient in the carrying on of 
21   this trial under Rule 403. Sorry. Go ahead. 
22   WITNESS:       I feel like my office has good 
23   conviction rates in every area. The big boom of 
24   Methamphetamine cases is actually just now working its 
25   way through the system, so there's not any real hard

Page 104

1    statistics. But we certainly . . . we work with difficult
2    state laws in Tennessee, because the law has some
3    catching up to do with the Methamphetamine problem. But 
4    I think we have a good rate of conviction for those 
5    cases. 
6    BY MR. DUFFY: 
7     Q.            Assuming that that question contained 
8    in Mr. Davidian's Putnam Pit deals with the subject 
9    matter of Methamphetamine, have you seen anything in the 
10   Putnam Pit from a factual standpoint that supports an 
11   inference by Mr. Davidian that your office somehow takes 
12   a position with respect to Methamphetamine use that's 
13   harmful to children? 
14    A.            I've never... I've seen... He implies 
15   that we take an approach to Methamphetamine that is 
16   harmful to children. 
17    Q.            Have you ever seen him assert in the 
18   Putnam Pit any factual basis to support that inference or 
19   opinion or whatever it is that Mr. Davidian apparently 
20   has? 
21   MR. HARRIS:    I'm going to object to this form 
22   as being vague. I'm not even sure what it is you're 
23   referring to. 
24   WITNESS:       I've never seen anything factual 
25   in the Putnam Pit that would support the allegation that

Page 105

1    our... the function of our office has contributed to the 
2    death of babies. 
3    MR. DUFFY:     Let me just make sure that we 
4    have our exhibits right, Mr. Harris. Let's real quick, 
5    let's go ahead and get that marked as Deposition 
6    Exhibit #1. And we can include yours. I believe... 
7    Actually none of this needs to be on the record. 
8    Everybody can go on. 
9    MR. HARRIS:    Well, actually, I wouldn't mind 
10   having... 
11   MR. DUFFY:     Oh, do you need to follow up? 
12   MR. HARRIS:    ... follow-up. 
13   MR. DUFFY:     Okay. Sorry. Go ahead. We'll 
14   straighten out the exhibits later. 
17                    RE-CROSS EXAMINATION 
18   BY MR. HARRIS: 
19     Q.           Just one quick question. Have you ever 
20   seen articles where Mr. Davidian has expressed an 
21   opinion, right or wrong, that you haven't done a good job 
22   in prosecuting certain cases, like the Methamphetamine 
23   one? 
24     A.           His opinion? 
25     Q. His opinion.

Page 106

1     A.            Sure. 
2     Q.            Thank you. 
3                   (Whereupon the following articles from 
4    the Putnam Pit are entered as exhibits: The Wednesday, 
5    November 12, 1997 Putnam Pit Article, captioned "Who 
6    Killed Darlene Eldridge?" is entered and marked as
7    Exhibit #1 to this deposition; The Putnam Pit Article
8    captioned "DA Bill Gibson under fire" is entered and
9    marked as Exhibit #2 to this deposition; The Putnam Pit
10   Article captioned "Bible Belt welts" is entered and
11   marked as Exhibit #3 to this deposition; The Putnam Pit
12   Article captioned "How we feel about DA Gibson
13   prosecuting the Looper murder case" is entered and marked
14   as Exhibit #4 to this deposition; and The Putnam Pit
15   Article captioned "Hitting Below the Bible Belt" is
16   entered and marked as Exhibit #5 to this deposition.)
20   (Signature Waived)

Page 107

3    I, the undersigned, CARLA YORK HANNAH,
4    Court Reporter and Notary Public-at-Large for the State
5    of Tennessee, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a
6    true, accurate and complete transcript, to the best of my
7    knowledge and ability, of the deposition of WILLIAM
8    EDWARD GIBSON as it was presented before me on the
9    4th day of October, 2001, at approximately 3:00 p.m. at
10   the City Hall in Cookeville, Tennessee.
11   I do hereby further certify that I am
12   neither of kin, counsel, nor do I have any interest to
13   any party hereto. 
17   October 8th, 2001
     Notary Public-at-Large 
22   State of Tennessee
24   My Commission Expires:

Page 108




3    Exhibit #1     The Putnam Pit Article dated
                     Wednesday, November 12, 1997      Page 107
     Exhibit #2     The Putnam Pit Article Captioned
5                   "DA Bill Gibson under fire"        Page 107

6    Exhibit #3     The Putnam Pit Article Captioned
                    "Bible Belt Welts"                 Page 107
     Exhibit #4     The Putnam Pit Article Captioned
8                   "How we feel about DA Gibson
                    prosecuting the Looper Murder
9                   Case"                              Page 107

10   Exhibit #5     The Putnam Pit Article Captioned
                    "Hitting Below the Bible Belt"     Page 107


Page 109