The Harris Column

City settles Bobby Andrews case

“Huffy” John Duffy deserves an award for disingenuous obfuscation of the truth on behalf of the misruling elite of the City of Cookeville


Special to The Putnam Pit

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 7, 2003) – Little by little, case by case, the City of Cookeville's tax-funded insurance civil-rights defense lawyers are losing all credibility with not only the public but the federal judges before whom the argue.


A recent example is John C. Duffy's cross examination of Putnam Pit editor Geoff Davidian in an October 2001 censorship trial in Cookeville.


The following is transcript at the web link trial in October 2001, with Duffy asking the questions and Davidian answering:

         4 Q. Have you reported that the Bobby Andrews vs. City

         5 of Cookeville case was likewise dismissed?

         6 A. I don't have any information about that case. I

         7 don't know how it turned out.

         8 Q. Are you telling us that you don't know that that

         9 case was dismissed?

        10 A. I have just told you that. I haven't followed

        11 it. I am sorry. Was it in the "Herald Citizen"?

Mr. Duffy tried to create the impression that Geoff Davidian did not publish stories favorable to the Shipley-OMara regime by not disclosing that the dismissal of a lawsuit Mr. Davidian had cited as an example of Litigationfest (for the City of Cookeville government). The lawsuit was Bobby Andrews vs. City of Cookeville.

In retrospect (shortly after the trial) The Putnam Pit discovered that the case had only been temporarily dismissed a few days before trial. Mr. Davidian could not have known of the dismissal what with trying to prepare for trial and dealing with an intrusion on his website which the City of Cookeville settled for a value over $10,000.00 despite the fact that Mr. Davidian offered to settle what the Pit refers to as “The Hacking Case” for less than $5,000 before the City incurred legal fees. Mr. Duffy should have been aware that the Pit had been shut down at the time because he was a Defendant involved in the settlement of the case. John Duffy would also have had early knowledge of the temporary dismissal of the Andrews case because his firm represented the City of Cookeville.

Mr. Duffy should win an award like the Herald-Citizen for disingenuous obfuscation of the truth on behalf of the ruling elite of the City of Cookeville. Mr. Duffy loves to pontificate on journalistic ethics despite his obvious ignorance on the subject. In deposition Mr. Duffy admitted that he did not know who Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were. These two Watergate reporters are arguably two of the most famous investigative reporters in the history of American journalism. Obviously Duffy is free to have opinions and express them. Still it requires great restraint to avoid telling someone, who obviously will talk about that which he knows not, to shut up.

Now why mention all this? On October 6, 2003, notice of the settlement of the Andrews vs. City of Cookeville case was filed with the Court. Presumably the City of Cookeville paid money to Bobby Andrews to avoid a trial that was scheduled two years to the month after Duffy complained of the Putnam Pit not disclosing that the case was dismissed. Though Duffy’s master debating skills at the trial were apparently lacking (Mr. Davidian clearly won the cross-examination), he was premature and disingenuous in trying to convey that the Andrews case had been dismissed.

Since the City of Cookeville and its attorney, John Duffy, were so keen on full disclosure of the results of the Andrews case, will the City now fully disclose the terms of settlement? On behalf of Geoff Davidian, I say unto thee John Duffy, “Yes, we didn’t know the case was dismissed but we do know the City settled.” The City should give Mr. Davidian (and thus the public) the unfiltered (meaning non-Herald Citizen - the propaganda rag of the Good Ole Boys), complete story.

What sayeth you, John Duffy?