ROGERSVILLE - According to official records attorney Doug Godbee called the allegations against him false and lies, with his attorney claiming the disciplinary action would be based on the "word of a drug-addicted former client." Godbee's law license was "temporarily suspended" by the Tennessee Supreme Court's Board of Professional Responsibility August 6. "The Board of Professional Responsibility petitioned the Court to temporarily suspend Mr. Godbee's law license because he poses a threat of substantial harm to the public," according to the BOPR. The suspension was taken, in part, based on a statement from Shelia Pearson, a former client of Godbee's. In a written "sworn" statement that is part of the case record, Pearson alleges that Godbee represented her in court on a theft charge but that he also paid her to engage in oral sex "several times." "Everyone knows that Doug Godbee will represent girls for sex and he will pay them for sex," Pearson claimed in the signed statement. According to an affidavit from Sandy Garrett, senior litigation counsel for the BOPR, on July 24 during a deposition Godbee was less than forthcoming when questioned about his conduct as an assistant attorney general and an attorney in private practice. "Mr. Godbee declined to answer the Board's questions and asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege," Garrett wrote, referring to the Fifth Amendment claim of avoiding self-incrimination. Godbee's attorney, Paul Whetstone, urged the BOPR not to enact the suspension. "If this ORDER (the suspension) is granted, it will have been done on the word of a drug-addicted former client," Whetstone claimed, adding the claim "is false." In a July 31 letter to the BOPR, Godbee repeatedly states that Pearson's claims are "false" and "lies" and denies that he and Pearson have ever had any type of sexual relationship. "Moreover, I am in such dire financial condition that I could not afford to be throwing money around as alleged by Ms. Pearson," Godbee said. "Ms. Pearson is alleging that 'everyone knows' about the lies she has told about me. I don't know how to respond to such a crazy allegation," Godbee added. In the letter the attorney also said that an individual had reportedly warned him that Pearson said she was going to "set up Doug Godbee," a report that he then allegedly relayed to Assistant District Attorney Alex Pearson. Under the terms of the current suspension, Godbee is not allowed to accept any new clients and is allowed to represent existing clients for 30 days, unless the suspension has been dissolved. He also has a right to seek a hearing before a Board panel. Godbee, who is accused of offering leniency to drug defendants was indicted by a Hawkins County grand jury April 25, 2011, on one count of official misconduct in connection to sex-for-leniency allegations. He was granted a change of venue to Jefferson County, due to extensive media exposure of his case, and is still awaiting trial.
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