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Ketron decides to drop ID theft lawsuit

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

COLUMBIA -- The identity theft suit brought by Sen. Bill Ketron against his challenger in last year's election will not be pursued in Maury County Chancery Court.

Ketron told The Daily Herald of Columbia that the lawsuit was filed in hopes of setting legal precedent to affect future campaigns, and now he's decided against adding harm or cost from litigation against Columbia Councilwoman Debbie Matthews.

Matthews' campaign manager, Chris Atkins, opened a free e-mail account, billketron@gmail.com, to press her campaign against him with allegations he misused legislative expense account funds. The email also solicited campaign contributions for Matthews.

Matthews has maintained the civil complaint was politically motivated and she told the Daily Herald that she anticipated the case would be dropped.

Her campaign director, however, was indicted on charges of identity theft and using another person's likeness to raise funds without their permission. Those charges were not prosecuted as the district attorney granted a pretrial diversion allowing Atkins to abide by terms of a two-year program in hopes of having the court record expunged.