ROGERSVILLE - A trial date has been set early next year for former Hawkins County General Sessions Judge James Taylor after his attorney entered not guilty pleas to local theft charges. Taylor, 41,148 Stewart Hills Drive, Rogersville, was named in indictments handed down June 1 that charge him with a count of theft of property valued at more than $60,000; four counts of theft of property valued at more than $10,000 but less than $60,000; four counts of theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000; and three counts of money laundering. Taylor did not appear in court last Friday, but was represented by Kingsport attorneys Wayne Culbertson and Matthew King. The alleged criminal activity covers a period from May 2007 to July 2010 and involves a reported $192,924.83. Among Taylor's alleged victims were three Hawkins County churches and a business who all made donations for a Hawkins County Justice Center Heritage Display that would have included a version of the Ten Commandments. Special presiding Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood set a motion hearing for November 19, with a trial tentatively set for January 28, 2013. Taylor has pleaded not guilty in Nashville to 41 counts of theft of property. Bond for Taylor was reduced to $100,000 from $175,000 by Criminal Court Judge Cheryl Blackburn but he remains in custody. The former jurist is accused of filing numerous false claims with the Nashville-based Administrative Office of the Courts requesting payment for services as legal counsel in cases where he did not perform legal work. Taylor is both an attorney and former general sessions and juvenile judge. Investigators said the false claims were submitted between September 2010 and July 2011. Most of the amounts were between $500 and $1,000.
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