The trial of a lawyer in Hendersonville, who was accused of stealing money from his clients back in 2012, has been delayed again – this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order on November 17 that suspended all legal proceedings across the state through January 31 in response to the increased number of COVID-19 cases.
Andy Allman, 51, was due to stand before a jury of his colleagues in Sumner County Criminal Court on November 30th. The trial, on more than two dozen counts, was scheduled to take two weeks and call nearly 100 witnesses.
Following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, a Sumner County grand jury returned an August 2017 charge of 28 charges against Allman for theft and unlicensed exercise. A separate grand jury indicted him on 11 other charges in December 2017.
Since that time, prosecutors have dismissed three theft allegations in the first indictment and nine theft counts between $ 1,000 and 10,000 in the second indictment for redemption charges that clients stated they paid but did not get a job .
Allman, who was banned from exercising the right in 2018, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The former attorney was due to go on trial in March when he was arrested for stealing over $ 10,000 and falsely presented himself as a lawyer. Following these allegations, Allman’s bail was revoked and he remains in Sumner County Jail.
He is due to appear in court on January 14th, when a new trial date is expected.
Sumner County’s District Attorney Ray Whitley said Allman’s is one of 11 lawsuits his office has had to postpone under a Supreme Court order.
“Some of these attempts have already been rolled back but had to be continued for a variety of reasons,” said Whitley. The alleged crimes range from domestic assault, violations of protection orders, violations of the sex offender register, various sexual offenses, serious assault, and a first degree murder case believed to be drug related.
“When we have notified our victims and witnesses, the majority of them seem relieved that there will be delays, even though no one has told us yet that they would not come because of COVID concerns,” said Whitley.
A delay in the defendants’ trial generally benefits the defendant as memory fades, life circumstances change such as moving house, etc., he added. “But we haven’t come across anything that our office can’t handle.”
Whitley noted that a trial is set to begin on January 26th that prosecutors are expected to move forward.
Douglas Richmond, 36, of Gallatin, is charged with 16 cases of electronic exploitation of a minor and three cases of sexual battery by a person of authority.
The former Gallatin High School science teacher was arrested in February 2019 after police alleged he exchanged nudes with a 14-year-old student.