East Tennessee Judge resigning to avoid embarrassment wants recording back

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) -- A circuit judge who is resigning to keep an audio tape of his personal fantasies from becoming public said the recording is private property and should be returned to him, but the chief prosecutor in Bradley County disagreed.

Circuit Judge John B. Hagler Jr., 65, said in a Thursday letter to members of the Bar in his East Tennessee district that the recording "should have been returned to me" when a prosecutor and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent confronted him with the contents Dec. 7.

Hagler, in his third term, said in a statement Tuesday that he was resigning, effective Dec. 31.

District Attorney Steve Bebb said Thursday that he sent the tape to the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, which handles complaints against judges.

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