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Lawsuit defendant seeks documents from former Unicoi sheriff Harris, uncle

Brad Hicks • Jul 18, 2012 at 6:53 AM

ERWIN — John Day, spokesman for the Unicoi County Citizens for Good Governance, has filed requests for documents from former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris and his uncle, Kenny Woods, who both previously filed libel complaints against Day for remarks he posted on a website he maintains.

Day’s requests for production were filed Monday afternoon in Unicoi County Civil Sessions Court. From Harris, Day is requesting a witness list, as well as a list of physicians and medical facilities that provided treatment related to Harris’ brain injury and the dates when Harris received treatment. Day is also requesting copies of all medical records relating to Harris’ brain injury.

Harris resigned as sheriff on March 1 and, in his resignation letter, cited ongoing health reasons as the reason. Harris was injured in an August 2010 fall from the roof of the Unicoi County Jail and previously stated that, among other injuries, he had suffered a brain injury that required out-of-state treatment.

Day also is requesting Harris produce all emails “publishing an untruth” about him. He is also seeking copies of information given to Harris by former Carter County sheriff John Henson concerning interim Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley.

From Woods, Day is seeking copies of documentation substantiating that he has a top security clearance in his employment position.

Day is seeking from both Woods and Harris copies of their certified grade transcripts from elementary and high school and college. He also is requesting both supply copies of the letters about Hensley they feel Day referred to in his website post, as well as documentation that demonstrates damage to their reputation, character and wellbeing caused by statements made by Day.

In his requests, Day asks that Harris and Woods provide reasons they cannot provide the requested documentation if they are unable to do so.

Late last month, Harris and Woods filed separate complaints in Civil Sessions Court accusing Day of making libelous remarks on his website. Both Harris and Woods are seeking damages of $1 plus court costs. Attached to each of those complaints is a copy of a post from Day’s website, Unicoi County Tennessee Watchdog, published on June 19.

In the post, Day describes a meeting he had with Henson regarding Harris’ and Woods’ questioning of Hensley’s work experience in letters to the editor published earlier that week in The Erwin Record.

“I had the opportunity to discuss with John today’s letters to the Erwin Record editor from former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris, who is currently under indictment on 11 felony charges and is receiving disability for a purported brain injury, and his uncle Kenny Woods, who is by no means among the sharper knives in the rack and by all current IQ standards is surely missing some critical marbles in his brain bag, regarding their accusations that current Unicoi County sheriff, Mike Hensley, lied about working for John in 1998-2000 while John was the Carter County sheriff,” the website post states.

Day’s website post further states: “I’m sure that everyone wonders, as I do, who really wrote those two letters today to the Erwin Record, considering the brain damage that both Harris and Woods have. Even on their best day and without their brain damage, neither could possibly articulate the English language so clearly and spell words containing more than one syllable and 3 letters. Whoever wrote them surely did make (expletive) of themselves along with Harris and Woods and should hang their heads in shame for stooping so low in their pig sties to write such lies about fine and able men such as Mike Hensley and John Henson.”

Following the filing of Harris’ and Woods’ complaints, Day issued a written response to the complaints. In that statement, Day called the filing of the complaints an act of “bullying” and said Harris and his supporters have attempted to prevent him from speaking out since members of Unicoi County Citizens for Good Governance began questioning then-sheriff Harris’ budgetary requests made in the summer of 2011.

“The civil lawsuit filed against me by Kent Harris and Kenny Woods is just one more of their acts that is typical of schoolyard bullies,” Day’s statement said. “Ever since I got involved in the rebuttal of Kent Harris’ budget demands in August 2011 when he was still Unicoi County sheriff, they have attempted several times using various methods to stop me from speaking out against them when the bullied those in Unicoi County who were unable or too frightened to stand up for themselves.”

Hearings on both complaints will take place in Civil Sessions Court next Tuesday, with Harris’ complaint to be taken up at 1 p.m. and Woods’ at 1:30 p.m.

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