On December 8, 2015 – the day the then-front runner of Republican President Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims from entering the US – a Twitter user named Jerry Morgan asked a question.
“Where is the evidence that Islam is a religion of peace?” Wrote Morgan. “They went to war against every society they have faced for thousands of years.”
A week later, Morgan wrote in a tweet to Fox Business channel: “Muslims will take whatever we give them and us [sic] it against us. Time to wake up! “
It’s the kind of rhetoric you’d likely find in the right bog of the Internet or, for example, on the timeline of a U.S. Senator in Tennessee. But Morgan’s tweets – and there seems to be a lot more as to where the above came from – got a particular buzz because of his work. He is reportedly the same Jerry Morgan who serves as a lawyer on the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. The board serves as an ethics watchdog for the prosecutors. Morgan served as disciplinary attorney on the Board of Directors civil lawsuit against Nashville attorney Brian Manookian. Daniel Horwitz, attorney-at-law, who is representing Manookian on the matter, filed a motion with the Davidson County Registrar’s Court on November 24 to disqualify Morgan as an attorney on the case “for being an anti-Muslim fanatic.”
“Without claiming to catalog the full scope of Mr. Morgan’s enormously disturbing and obviously racist public utterances,” writes Horwitz in the motion, “Mr. Morgan clearly harbors extreme prejudices against Muslims and Islam in general.”
The application includes exhibits with screenshots of dozens of tweets posted by Morgan – some racist, some conspiratorial, and others just plain ordinary, if somewhat awkward, pro-Trump posts. And they’re not all from years ago. This includes recent tweets expressing support for unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about election fraud that are costing Trump the 2020 election.
“I find it amazing that with all this continuous counting, they just seem to find extra votes for Biden.” Morgan tweeted on November 5th. “Not for Trump. There is nothing suspicious about it … “
In tweets from 2016 and 2017, he suggests a belief in the Conspiracy theories about the murder of Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich.
Horwitz’s motion, however, mainly focused on Morgan’s anti-Muslim statements. In the application, he states that Manookian is married to a Muslim woman who is also a well-known lawyer, and that the couple’s two children “grow up in a Muslim household”.
“Unfortunately, these facts are of considerable importance in this case, as Disciplinary Councilor Jerry Morgan is a proud anti-Muslim fanatic,” writes Horwitz.
Morgan deleted his Twitter account shortly after submitting the application.
It is not clear what sparked the BPR against Manookian. The ethical complaints that the BPR investigates will be treated confidentially until the process is completed.
The BPR did not respond directly to the motion with Morgan’s tweets, but filed a motion on Dec. 3 asking the court to allow Morgan to resign as the registered attorney on the case. In response, Horwitz filed a motion on the grounds that the Chamber’s motion to withdraw Morgan was inadequate, and asked the court to instruct the Chamber to make affidavits stating whether it was any of the Horwitz’s previous ones Dispute application highlighted tweets. He also highlights the fact that Morgan deleted the tweets in question along with his entire Twitter account, an act the motion describes as “knowing and deliberately expropriating material evidence”.
“Mr. Morgan’s statements are deeply disturbing and disqualifying, and the idea that a shameless fanatic was involved in the enforcement of the ethics not only jeopardizes the integrity of that process, but also shatters any confidence in the integrity of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility itself “Said Horwitz scene in a written statement Wednesday.
It’s the same agency that investigated other lawyers like the Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott for anti-Muslim comments. The Tennessee Supreme Court Code of Conduct Indicate that “an attorney who knowingly manifests, through words or behavior, prejudice or prejudice based on race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socio-economic status, in the process of representing a client”. commits misconduct in a way that “interferes with the administration of justice”.
The BPR did not respond to a request for comment on whether Morgan would be disciplined or continue to work for the Board.