New evidence has reportedly emerged in connection with the criminal probe surrounding the extramarital affair between Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and the head of her security detail, Nashville PD Sergeant Robert Forrest.
In a January 31 news conference, Mayor Barry admitted to the relationship, the same day that the officer announced his retirement from the police department after 31 years on the job. Barry apologized to her constituents and both families involved and acknowledged that she made a serious mistake. She has insisted, however, that Sgt. Forrest, who is also married, was never on the clock when they were engaged in romantic encounters.
The police officer racked up thousands of dollars in overtime while he headed the mayor’s security detail, however, and according to CNN, his overtime pay soared by 83 percent after Barry, a Democrat, took office in September 2015. He reportedly banked about $170,000 in OT from the summer of 2015 through mid-January 2018.
In applying for a search warrant to gain access to Mayor Barry’s cell phone, which she declined to hand over voluntarily, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s affidavit alluded to nude photos of a woman that were found on Forrest’s phone which the agency had previously subpoenaed, The Tennessean reported.
“Barry has said that there was no personal engagement in the affair while Forrest was on duty…Barry traveled to Washington on May 15-17, 2017, for an infrastructure conference, and Forrest was the only other city employee who went with her…On Forrest’s phone, there were nude images of a woman the TBI believes to be Barry that were taken during the time that Forrest reported receiving overtime, according to the affidavit.”
Investigators also found 260 deleted chats allegedly between the two and 35 deleted chat logs on Forrest’s cell phone, which they say provides further probable cause to obtain the mayor’s device as part of the criminal investigation into the possible misuse of public money, the affidavit contends.
“A search of Megan Barry’s phone could reveal information that is crucial evidence for this case. In particular, data and information that has been deleted from Sgt. Forrest’s phone may still exist on Megan Barry’s phone.”
Newly discovered nude cell phone photos may be evidence Nashville's mayor and her former security chief were having an affair while he was being paid to be her bodyguard, authorities say in court documents https://t.co/mGNmfK87Ss pic.twitter.com/WyTfnyROub— CNN (@CNN) February 23, 2018
Mayor Megan Barry and Sgt. Forrest allegedly traveled together on 10 taxpayer-paid trips out of state or out of the country without any other city staffers.
The mayor says that the photos in question, if they are actually her, were taken without her consent or knowledge and constitute an invasion of privacy.
All along, she has pledged to fully cooperate with the investigation. Barry has nonetheless declined to unlock the phone, which is now in the TBI’s possession after the search warrant was served.
A special Nashville city council committee is also looking into the allegations against Mayor Barry. A local activist group has already filed an ethics complaint against the mayor for a possible conflict of interest when it comes to matters involving the Metro-Nashville Police Department and officer-involved shootings. Separately, within a few months of becoming mayor, Barry recommended Sgt. Forrest’s daughter for an unbudgeted job with the city’s legal department, for which no other candidate was interviewed, The Tennessean disclosed.
Megan Barry, 54, so far has resisted calls to step down from her position as mayor of Nashville.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry refused to hand over the passcode to her iPhone following affair with her former bodyguard: pic.twitter.com/uZYql4jTyu— Chris Conte (@chrisconte) February 22, 2018
Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 reports that the mayor and the sergeant were caught on security video making numerous early morning visits for some reason to the Nashville City Cemetery,
As the scandal involving Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is a rapidly developing story, please check back for updates.