House Speaker Cameron Sexton said, “This will be a difficult time for our state as well as we go down this road.”
Federal authorities raided homes and offices of several Tennessee lawmakers on Friday, including the property of former state House Speaker Glen Casada, officials said.
FBI agents searched residences with “addresses associated with” Casada, fellow GOP state Reps. Robin Smith and Todd Warner, and Casada’s former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, said David Boling, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville.
Several lawmaker offices were also raided on Friday, but Boling declined to identify those targets.
“I can only confirm the presence of FBI agents at these locations and cannot comment on the nature,” Boling told NBC News.
Representatives for Casada, Smith and Warner could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday afternoon.
Casada stepped down from his leadership role in summer 2019, after he admitted to sending a series of sexually inappropriate and racist text messages.
“I have been, and I will continue to be in full cooperation with the authorities as their investigation continues,” the state’s current House speaker, Cameron Sexton, told reporters on Friday.
“On the advice of both ethics and legal counsel, I am placing everyone that was subject to the execution of today’s search warrants on administrative leave until further notice,” he said.
Sexton reminded Tennesseans that these raids do “not imply guilt” of anyone involved.
“A personal note … this has been a trying week for our country and this will be a difficult time for our state as well as we go down this road,” Sexton said.
“Personally, these are our friends and colleagues of ours that we worked with for many years.”