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Questions over ties between men at center of suspect's release

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Bryan Lewis (left) and Judge Casey Moreland Bryan Lewis (left) and Judge Casey Moreland
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A story involving a wealthy developer, an allegation of domestic violence and what could be seen as special treatment from a judge has been generating lots of attention in Nashville.

Now, we are learning more about the men involved in the decision making, and it has one council member, who's running for mayor, calling for the judge to resign.

Judge Casey Moreland is at the center of that controversy.

The chief of the Metro Police Department accused Moreland of taking bad advice from an attorney to waive a "cooling-off period" for David Chase, a well known developer who was charged with assaulting a woman.

After Chase was released from custody, police say, he returned and beat the same woman again, leading to a felony charge.

Some wonder if what happened to the woman in this case is simply the result of a good ole boy system.

Moreland and attorney Bryan Lewis appear to be close enough acquaintances that they appear in a photo together at a waterfall on vacation. The photo was posted on Lewis' own Facebook page.

It's one indication of the relationship between the two, which Police Chief Steve Anderson described in a sharply worded letter to the presiding judge.

Anderson suggests Moreland helped get Chase out of a 12-hour cooling-off period after he was arrested for domestic violence because of the judge's relationship with Chase's attorney, Lewis.

The Channel 4 I-Team has learned that five days before Chase's domestic violence arrest, he was in court on a DUI charge.

It was in Moreland's courtroom, and his attorney was Lewis.

During that hearing, the DUI charge was nollied, meaning it was dropped for now. The district attorney's office says that there wasn't enough proof to prosecute.

And just five days later, Moreland was blamed for interfering on a domestic violence case on behalf of his friend's client.

Campaign finance disclosures show that Lewis, along with lots of other attorneys in town, gave money to Moreland's re-election campaign - a $1,500 contribution.

We wanted to ask Moreland about all that, but he denied our request for an interview.

The Channel 4 I-Team also got in touch with the attorney who is representing the woman named in the domestic violence incident.

Her attorney, Sean McKinney, said his client is upset that her name was released publicly and that, "she feels like she's being used as a pawn. She doesn't know if someone is trying to blow this out of proportion and use her in some kind of agenda."

McKinney went on to say the woman, "doesn't understand why she's part of this sensational story."

We also reached out to Lewis, as well as the attorney we're told is representing Chase now, and neither returned our calls.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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