Davidson County will usher in a new era on Sept. 1 when long-time District Attorney Tory Johnson hands over the reins to his successor, Glenn Funk. But it could be a bumpy transition.
"When you go through an election and somebody else wins, you have to try to do what's best for the office when the election's over, and I think that's what we're trying to do," Rob McGuire said.
It's no surprise that Funk's opponent, McGuire, is leaving to start his own firm. But three other high-profile litigators have decided to go with him, and that's not all.
John Zimmerman, a 32-year veteran who has prosecuted everyone from rapists to drug dealers, is leaving to do the same thing in Rutherford County.
Shannon Poindexter, a woman who has made headlines for her aggressive pursuit of animal abusers, is also leaving.
"It's certainly going to be a challenge to Glenn and his administration. I mean, this is a lot of trial experience that's leaving the office. But change is what the voters wanted, and so, I think they're going to get it," McGuire said.
But is there more to this exodus than what meets the eye? Last month, Assistant DA Bret Gunn drafted a resignation email that may provide some insight.
In it, he references his long-term dislike for Funk and says, "While I think I could tolerate the policies of Glenn Funk the DA, I have come to realize that I still cannot tolerate Glenn Funk the man."
Defense attorney and former prosecutor Jim Todd says he has worked on both sides and that there's a split between people ready to make a change and others who are disgruntled.
"Anyone who leaves just because they don't think they can work for a defense attorney is narrow-minded," Todd said.
Either way, he says, justice will prevail.
"While there is going to be some institutional loss, I don't think it's going to hurt the people of Davidson County," Todd said.
The DA's communications director, Susan Niland, will be leaving the office after nine years. She will begin serving in a similar position at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Aug. 5.
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