30-Day Sentence For Phone Taper In ‘Erwin Record’ Case

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By: E&P Staff

The Erwin (Tenn.) Record — previously known mostly for its colorful motto: ?The only newspaper in the world that gives a hang about Unicoi County” — made national headlines last year when someone anonymously delivered to the weekly a recording of a phone conversation in which the county’s schools director vows to “beat the shit” out of then-Editor and General Manager Mark Stevens.

This week, the confessed source of that recording, 65-year-old Erwin resident Clifton Wayne Morris, began serving a 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “attempted dissemination of a cordless transmission.”

The illegal taping recorded a July 2004 conversation between Unicoi County Schools Director Denise Brown and a school board member, Nancy K. Bogart. According to accounts in the Record, Brown said she was “mad as hell” about negative coverage of her and the school board. The articles, she told Bogart, were “taking a toll? on her daughter and family.

“Well, I tell you what I’m going to do,? Brown then said, according to a transcript of the call. ?And I’m serious. It’s gonna stop, or I’m going to beat the shit out of him myself,? she said, referring to Stevens.

“And I’ll go with you,” Bogart said, according to the account in the Record.

Stevens, who was recently promoted to publisher of the newspaper, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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