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White-Collar Crime

2 lawyers indicted for extortion, accused of using arrest threat to seek purported fees from client

Posted Mar 12, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Corrected: Two Tennessee lawyers have been indicted by a grand jury Wednesday in an extortion case. They are accused of pressuring a client several years ago to pay $50,000 in probate case legal fees she had not agreed to pay by threatening her with arrest.

Attorneys Carrie Gasaway and Fletcher Long, who once worked together as law partners, did in fact have Michelle Langolis arrested on a theft-of-services charge, claiming that she had issued them a bad $50,000 check. However, an attorney now representing Langolis says the criminal case against her was eventually dropped, according to the Leaf Chronicle and WSMV.

"I am obviously disappointed and anxious to move to get this resolved," said Gasaway in a statement. "While I disagree with the preliminary decision, I am a strong believer in our justice system. The process sometimes takes longer than we would like to get to the truth. The government has known about this matter for more than two years. Today, I move toward being exonerated of the charge brought against me.

"I hope that this issue does not cast a shadow over the great work my current law firm continues to do. I ask that everyone respect the privacy of my associates, my staff and especially my family as we move forward to clear up this legal issue. This matter will not affect the work that I do. For over 16 years I have fought tirelessly on behalf of my clients. I will continue to do so while my team of attorneys work to see that I am acquitted."

The articles are based on a press release by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which says a probe is ongoing in the Montgomery County case.

Gasaway and Long went through booking and were released on their own recognizance, according to Gasaway's firm.

WSMV reported, prior to the unsealing of the indictment, that Long and his attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. to add Gasaway's statement and remove an incorrect statement that the attorneys were detained.

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