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NASHVILLE, Tenn. Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. -- Top officials of the Tennessee Highway Patrol discussed a phony punishment for a trooper who fixed a speeding ticket for Deputy Gov. Dave Cooley, The Tennessean newspaper reported Tuesday.

The newspaper report came from notes it said described a meeting between the highway patrol's then-commander, Lynn Pitts, and Safety Commissioner Fred Phillips.

The notes, which the newspaper got from an unnamed source, appear to have been taken by Lt. Col. Larry Rucker, then the No. 2 man in the highway patrol.

The notes say Pitts planned to reassign Lt. Ronnie Shirley from Rutherford County to Wilson County so "the media will be satisfied thinking we did something to him."

But the notes say the reassignment would be only "on paper" and that Shirley already lives in Wilson County -- just east of Nashville in Mt. Juliet.

In the end, Shirley was reprimanded for his involvement in the ticket dismissal and he was transferred to Davidson County.

The Tennessean also reported that the deputy governor called Shirley on his cell phone the night before the newspaper published the story of the fixed ticket.

The phone records, obtained under public records laws, showed the two talked for seven minutes. Cooley said his purpose in calling was to alert Shirley to the story.

"I thought it was the appropriate thing to do," Cooley said. "He was involved in this issue according to The Tennessean, and so I didn't see anything wrong with that."

Cooley declined to provide further details of the conversation or to explain why it lasted for seven minutes.

In February 2004, the deputy governor was cited for going 87 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 24. His ticket was dismissed after Shirley approached Rutherford County General Sessions Court Judge David Loughry.

Cooley said he didn't ask for any special consideration, but a videotape of the traffic stop from the patrol car showed Cooley handed the trooper his business card, which Cooley said he did reflexively as a courtesy.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation looked into the incident and Cooley was cleared of any criminal behavior by the state attorney general. But he was reprimanded publicly by Gov. Phil Bredesen and ordered to stay away from involvement with the THP.

Shown Rucker's notes, the governor said, "If there is new information, then I suggest someone give it to the TBI, and if the attorney general changes his opinion or there's something we've got to look at, then I'll deal with it.

"That was a year-and-a-half ago at this point. Absent the attorney general or the TBI saying, 'Oh, by the way, we missed something here,' as far as I'm concerned it's a dead issue."

Bredesen has declined the newspaper's request to release the TBI file on the Cooley case.

"My reaction to these requests has been that there's a reason these files are kept confidential, so that people can put in them material they have," Bredesen said. "It doesn't have to be scrubbed for public consumption and all those kinds of things, and you can keep the files."

THP spokeswoman Julie Oaks confirmed Rucker believed the notes were his, although he wanted to review them more closely.

Rucker declined to talk generally about the notes, saying only that "I can definitely tell you I was not in no meeting to cover anything up. There you go."

Rucker's notes also say that Pitts remarked the public was looking for a scapegoat in the Cooley ticket debacle, and that it wasn't going to be him.

Pitts was forced to resign from the patrol last month after he won an online auction to buy a fishing boat that had been confiscated by the Department of Safety. State law forbids state employees from bidding on or buying items seized by their own agencies.

An investigation by The Tennessean found that the THP has a history of cronyism in promotions and lawbreaking by troopers.