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VOL. 124 | NO. 141 | Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stanley Target of Extortion Attempt In April TBI Says

"Explicit" Photos of Intern Involved

By Andy Meek

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The TBI is investigating an alleged attempt to extort $10,000 from state Sen. Paul Stanley, of Germantown.

A court affidavit filed in Nashville in April mentions a memory disc containing “explicit” photographs of legislative intern McKensie Morrison that “appeared to be taken in Stanley’s apartment.” The affidavit goes on to say Morrison was “engaged in a sexual relationship with Stanley.”

Stanley’s Senate district covers Germantown and Cordova. Stanley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, could not be reached Tuesday night by The Daily News for comment. Unconfirmed reports circulated Tuesday night that Stanley would resign his commerce committee chairmanship Wednesday.

Morrison was involved in a relationship with Joel Watts, according to the affidavit, and Watts discovered the memory disc. He allegedly began sending text messages and making phone calls to Stanley April 8, and during those contacts he suggested Stanley pay $10,000 for the photos.

The affidavit says Watts told Stanley the photos would be released to the public, including the media, if the senator did not pay the money.

“Releasing the photographs to individuals or the media would cause embarrassment, both professionally and personally, to Stanley,” the affidavit reads.

Stanley called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation about the matter April 8, and Stanley at the direction of the TBI then met with Watts April 9 behind an El Rey Azteca Mexican Restaurant in Whites Creek in Davidson County. The affidavit says “a controlled delivery of $10,000 was organized and made to Watts.”

The $10,000 was supplied by the TBI, and the memory disc was given to Stanley at that time. At that point, Watts also was taken into custody.

Watts is charged with theft and extortion and had a preliminary hearing Monday in Nashville. Morrison faces no criminal charges.

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