Knoxville (WVLT) - Next Friday is the first judgment day for four members of an East Tennessee family charged in a decade long drug conspiracy.
Is Scott West a Downtown visionary or a drug pusher, who joined with his brother Mike, and their wives, to launder marijuana money through several businesses in Market Square?
Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd reports letters to the federal judge are running 10-to-1, for a light sentence.
Organized or spontaneous?
With apologies to Garth Brooks, Scott West seems to have friends in all places; family, musicians, customers, business executives, publishers, university types.
Some of whom put their words, on their company's letter-heads.
For now, the market square businesses the Wests opened are still open, albeit under new ownership, management or license holders, but what to do with Wests themselves.
"I wouldn't say give em the absolute minimum because a crime's a crime, a law's a law," still, Tony Cohoon believes hard work should count for something.
So do the Wests accountants, one of whom argues the Market Square businesses weren't criminal enterprises, but they took so much time he doubts the brothers or their wives could have committed many crimes.
A DeRoyal executive insists Scott West is no hardened criminal, but a talented person who made a terribly wrong decision.
Scott's 14-year-old nephew Ronnie calls his uncle awesome, great and cool, pleading he not be taken for a long time.
The deluge of letters comes after the court received about a dozen letters from folks, arguing the Wests high profile, is reason enough, to get tough.
A retired school teacher argues a man of good character wouldn't deal drugs to increase his wealth at other's expense.
Another citizen calls the Wests arrogant low life drug pushers who believe they'll get away with it because of a little laundered cash.
"It's kind of like saying if it's good for this portion of town, then let's let it go, and it should be even across the board," says "Coleman", a Market Square Patron. "If it happened somewhere else, they'd throw the book at 'em."
Scott West could get nine years.
His lawyer is pushing for 3 years, 8 months.
Prosecutors are pushing for at least seven, based on what they call his level of cooperation once he was arrested.