Judge Frees Tommy Robinson from Conway Jail

FEBRUARY 28, 2007 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST

CONWAY, AR - Former congressman and sheriff Tommy Robinson and his lawyer were freed from jail after spending a night locked up on contempt citations.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James G. Mixon on Monday ordered the pair jailed.  Robinson and attorney Roy "Bill" Lewallen spent the night in the Faulkner County Jail at Conway, which holds federal prisoners under contract with the government.

The judge said Monday that by filing a lawsuit the day before the scheduled December 19 auction of a hunting lodge in which Robinson was once a partner, Robinson and Lewallen had set out deliberately to block the court-ordered auction.

Lewallen filed a request yesterday morning to drop the lawsuit.   Mixon then signed an order directing the release of the two men.

Mixon's order said dropping the suit "purged" the pair of civil contempt.  But he said he would send a recommendation that Robinson and Lewallen be cited for criminal contempt.  The judge is recommending a fine of $5,000 each plus attorneys' fees and damages stemming from the auction delay.  The fees exceed $20,000, and the initial auction cost $110,000.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)