Attorneys Indicted Over Billing Dispute With Client
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested a well-known defense attorney and a former colleague, saying they extorted money from one of their clients.
A Montgomery County grand jury indicted 45-year-old Fletcher Long and 43-year-old Carrie Gasaway on March 5. They were served Wednesday after a judge was able to sign the paperwork.
Fletcher has become well-known in Middle Tennessee, having defended high profile clients like Robert Burdick, known as the "Wooded Rapist," Perry March and also more recently a suspect in the Vanderbilt rape case.
TBI officials said they began an investigation into Gasaway and Long in February 2012 at the request of the district attorney.
A woman told investigators that she sought legal services from Gasaway, Long and Associates law firm in October 2010 for representation during the reading of her father's will.
The charges said a fee for the services was agreed upon by all parties. The woman told officials after the reading Gasaway demanded she sign a contract for an additional $50,000 fee for continued services.
She claimed Gasaway and Long both made continued demands for additional payments and eventually obtained an arrest warrant for their client. The unidentified woman was arrested with a bond set at $75,000.
After the arrest, the woman retained another attorney who was able to reduce the bond to $2,500 and have her released.
Gasaway and Long were both indicted for one count of extortion. Both turned themselves in at the Montgomery County Jail where they were processed and released on their own recognizance.
An arraignment hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Long talked to NewsChannel 5 Tuesday in anticipation of the indictment. He said he wanted to get on the record before the indictment was handed down.
"I will be vindicated," he said.
Long said the indictment was initiated by a simple billing dispute with a client.
"There has been an ongoing TBI investigation into alleged criminal conduct. I don't believe I've done anything wrong, but anyone can be accused," said Long. "Kings, queens and senators all get charged. It's the conviction that matters."
Long said the indictment would have no effect on his current representation of former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg, accused in a high profile rape case.
"It's not going to affect me in the high profile cases that I'm involved, and the other lawyers still desire my participation," said Long.