MARION -Last Monday, Rutherfordton defense attorney Anthony Morrow filed a motion in McDowell County Superior Court to have Bell dismissed as the prosecutor in the case regarding Judge Randy Pool and have a special prosecutor appointed instead. Morrow represents Ms. Tierce, who was charged last fall with one count of felony extortion. Tierce allegedly threatened to send copies of sexually explicit texts and photographs from messages between Pool and herself if Pool did not pay her $5,000 as he supposedly promised as laid out in previous court documents.
In April 2019, Pool “began aggressively soliciting Ms. Tierce to comply with his sexually predatory actions.” In addition to using his authority as a judge, Pool also “attempted to further entice Ms. Tierce with financial support.” He frequently communicated with her while holding court, according to the document filed by Morrow.
The document also alleges Pool used two law enforcement officers to intimidate Tierce after she had threatened to publicly disclose what he had been doing. One of the unnamed officers was an SBI agent and the other a member of the local narcotics task force, according to Morrow. It is not stated who authorized the use of a local narcotics task force officer in this matter.
According to the motion the officers took her to the Sheriff’s Office, without reading her rights or having her lawyer present. There, she was informed by the officers “that she was not to disclose any information about what had happened or that she ‘would be in a lot more trouble,’” according to the document filed by Morrow.
“Fearing what would happen if she spoke – even with an attorney – Ms. Tierce complied with the officers’ demands that she remain silent,” reads the document.
District Attorney Ted Bell and Assistant District Attorney Corey McKinnon either ignored or attempted to cover up what Pool was doing with Tierce and other women.
“While serving as the prosecutorial arm of District 29A with Mr. Bell, Mr. McKinnon took no actions to stop Judge Pool after learning of another victim,” reads the document. “
The District Attorney’s office supposedly knew of multiple victims by the time Ms. Tierce went public and did not charge Judge Pool, report him to the bar and/or Judicial Standards Commission. Thus, although the District Attorney’s office had the ability to prevent Judge Pool from targeting other victims, the prosecutors did nothing. Through their inaction Judge Pool had the opportunity to prey on more women, including Ms. Tierce according to the motion.
The document alleges in May 2019 that McKinnon contacted Tierce about her Facebook comments regarding Pool when she stated “(Pool) will not get away with this.” He allegedly told Tierce that he saw her comment and spoke with her about his unsuccessful campaign for District Court judge in 2018, when he lost to Pool.
According to the document, McKinnon said to Tierce: “I had a lot of things I was made aware of during the election and chose not to use them…I’ve heard it is more of the same.”
McKinnon is now seeking election to a newly created judgeship in District 29A. It is not the one vacated by Pool.
The document filed by Morrow alleges Bell discouraged alleged victims of harassment by the former judge from coming forward.
“Moreover, as Judge Pool learned his misconduct was being made public, he deleted his Facebook page and erased his cellphone messages in an attempt to destroy all evidence of his criminal actions and ethical violations,” reads the document. “Mr. Bell did not file criminal charges against Judge Pool for the destruction of public records as required by the North Carolina Public Records Act.”
The document also alleges that as Pool’s actions began to be publicly known, Bell “immediately submitted charges against Ms. Tierce to the grand jury in an attempt to silence Ms. Tierce and to send a warning shot to all other victims.”
Further the motion states that Bell also attempted to “intimidate and silence the many women that Judge Pool had used his position of authority to prey on for nearly two decades.”
The document states that Bell planned to file a protective order on Monday, Jan. 6 to prevent any information about Pool’s communications on his Facebook and cellphone account from being disclosed to the public. Pool and Tierce were allegedly communicating with each other and sending sexual messages and nude photographs on Facebook.
Other allegations in the motion were made about Assistant District Attorney Kent Brown’s motion to seal all documents related to the case. That hearing will be held on February 26.
After reviewing a local news story containing numerous errors of fact regarding a defense motion to have the District Attorney’s staff disqualified for prosecuting the Judge Pool case and have a special prosecutor brought in, RC Catalyst wishes to share the documents kindly made public by the McDowell News.