Attorney Says Alleged Cover-Up

FAYETTEVILLE -- The attorney for a Montgomery County resident who filed a lawsuit against University of Arkansas Chancellor John White said Thursday that the appearance of a cover-up by several key witnesses bolsters his client's argument that an independent investigation is needed.

Fort Smith attorney Eddie Christian Jr. filed a motion in Washington County Circuit Court on Wednesday, offering what he believes is evidence that friends of Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt have deleted e-mails relating to the case.

Christian is representing John David Terry in his lawsuit against White and UA System President B. Alan Sugg over White's handling of a disparaging e-mail sent to former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain by a Nutt family friend.

"Our complaint is (that) there has been no investigation to begin with," Christian said Thursday evening. "But if you've got persons trying to cover up evidence or fabricate evidence or delete and destroy evidence, it's strongly suggestive and indicative that there is something they're trying to hide.

"When you're deleting your e-mails, there must be something on those e-mails you don't want the public to know about."

Christian's comments came on the same day that attorneys for Arkansas filed a brief reasserting their claim that Terry's lawsuit has no legal basis and should be dismissed for a second time.

UA associate general counsel Scott Varady stated in the brief that Christian is using "speculation and self-serving and uninformed legal interpretations" to argue that White failed to properly investigate the controversial e-mail sent to Mustain on Dec. 7.

Teresa Prewett, a Little Rock physical therapist and a close friend of the Nutt family, is the author of the e-mail that begs Mustain to transfer. Mustain has since transferred to the University of Southern California, where he will redshirt this season.

"The fact that (Terry), a private citizen with no involvement in this matter, dislikes the methods and outcome of Chancellor White's review of this situation does not give rise to a justiciable issue," the brief said.

The brief, filed Thursday afternoon in Washington County Circuit Court, is in support of Arkansas' motion to have the lawsuit against White and Sugg dismissed. Varady could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Washington County Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides regarding motions to dismiss and preserve evidence at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 17.

Lindsay threw out Terry's initial lawsuit against White and Sugg on June 4, but the judge gave Christian the option to refile an amended lawsuit. Christian refiled not long after the ruling.

In his motion filed Wednesday afternoon, Christian stated that a woman who lives with Teresa Prewett has deleted e-mails written around the time that Prewett sent Mustain the disparaging e-mail on Dec. 7.

Christian also claimed that other e-mails sent by Department of Finance and Administration employee Sherri Darby around several critical dates in the case have been destroyed.

Darby shares a home with Prewett in Little Rock, and she's described in Christian's brief as being part of the Nutt family "inner circle." Prewett is a close friend of the Nutt family.

"If there is nothing on (the witnesses' computers), then that's fine. We could let this (lawsuit) go and move on and everybody can enjoy this season," Christian said.

"Instead, they want to hide evidence from us. Why is that? If there is nothing to hide, get it all out in the open."

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