Editors Note: This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Extortion of Forgiveness. The text messages contained in this chapter were taken from evidence the TBI obtained from cellular phone records and were given to the District Attorney’s office for evidence.
The individuals below are myself, Paul Stanley, McKensie Morrison, the intern who was assigned to my office and Joel Watts, her boyfriend at the time who later plea guilty to an extortion felony charge. TBI Director Mark Gwyn and Agent Doug Long are also referenced.
Chapter 7 – Deceit & Delivery
It was time to move this process along and Agent Long and his team were waiting for me. Director Gwyn and I said good-bye and I thanked him for his help. Knowing this would most likely see the front page of a paper; I felt some sense of relief in realizing my options were clearly defined. Agent Long met me as I walked out of the director’s office and led me back to the same conference room we were in the day before. It was business as usual for the agents – just another sting operation that would likely result in an arrest and conviction. My nerves were still raw and my adrenaline was working overtime. As soon as we entered the conference room I saw the recording device on the table. We had talked about getting McKensie on tape and I knew what was going to happen next.
“Senator Stanley, we want to tape this wire under your shirt so you can go back and see if McKensie will talk. Are you comfortable with that?” one of the agents asked.
I nodded yes. “Just tell me what I need to do.”
I removed my jacket, tie, and shirt, and they wrapped and taped the recording device around my stomach and then positioned the microphone once I put my shirt back on. It was my first experience recording someone and was a bit unnerving.
“Remember, we’ll be recording anything you say from now on, so if you don’t want to have it on tape, then don’t say it,” one of the agents warned.
Our plan was now laid out. I would drive back to the Capitol and talk to McKensie to see if I could get any details out of her. Once finished, I would meet Agent Long and his team at a designated location to prepare to meet Joel.
“You have seen him mtg over or what?” Joel asked McKensie at 11:59 p.m., anxious to know what I was up to.
McKensie didn’t immediately respond to him. Her “street” intelligence had probably kicked into high gear and trying to balance the two conversations most likely made her stop and think.
“Kinda funny,” Joel texted McKensie.
He was wrong on multiple counts today. I can think of several adjectives to describe the day but “funny” had not made the list.
Around the time I arrived at TBI headquarters, my phone was full of texts and calls from Joel.
“You will see I will give you the main copy i am not going to play with you this will be fast and there will not be any words you will trade with assurance that i will destroy the others i will meet you on a entrance ramp towards CLARKSVILLE.”
Joel was getting impatient and I kept buying time by making him think I had to run all over town for the money.
“Waiting on last batch. Is harder than I thought. I’m on west side of town and want to meet you in a public place. We don’t need to chat. I just want to make sure no other copies of the photos I took are around. What about the three computers?” I asked.
“Im comin back from lunch I not c him. none,” McKensie texted Joel at 12:25 p.m.
She was right, she hadn’t seen me for a while but now it was time for us to have another chat.
“Nothing now words you and paul getting moneys worth. I not hear from you none,” replied Joel, demonstrating his ill-educated command of grammar.
“U need to do something now. it will be on the news,” McKensie texted me later.
She was right again. It would be on the news but not that particular Thursday. Looking back McKensie had no idea how this extortion would define her life and to a certain extent, the lives of dozens of others. One has to wonder if she would have made a different decision.
“I am trying, but had to make multiple visits. If this hits the news I don’t pay him a cent,” I wrote.