‘Midnight Rider’ Director’s Attorneys Say FBI Is Investigating His Prosecution

Midnight Rider Doctortown Trestle Sarah Jones
Mike McCall for Variety

Attorneys for “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller say that the FBI is investigating his possible “wrongful prosecution and incarceration.”

Word of the investigation came in an affidavit the attorneys filed in a federal civil suit in which Miller’s production company, Film Allman, is challenging their insurer’s refusal to pay claims stemming from the Feb. 20, 2014, train accident on the set near Jesup, Ga.

Miller served a year in Wayne County Jail after he pled guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass stemming from the accident, in which camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and eight others were injured.

Alvin Leaphart, an attorney for Miller, said in a sworn affidavit that he met with an FBI agent about the case and they discussed “probably civil rights violations as well as other criminal matters.” He said that he also gave the agent with a synopsis of the investigation.

“He informed me that an investigation is underway into the possible wrongful prosecution and incarceration of Mr. Miller,” Leaphart said in the affidavit. He did not provide additional details on the investigation.

Another attorney for Miller, Amanda Clark Palmer, also said in an affidavit that she was informed of an investigation into the case.

Miller’s wife, producer Jody Savin, was also charged at the time, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

In December, U.S. District Judge Otis Wright ruled in favor of New York Marine’s contention that the policy could be denied because of an exclusion for criminal acts. He wrote that there was “no genuine dispute or ambiguity concerning the policy’s criminal act exclusion.”

He wrote that the court “determines that Film Allman’s employees entered onto the land in question. That the film crew was present on the train tracks is not disputed; indeed, the train accident in question could not have happened but for the crew’s presence on the tracks.”

Film Allman, represented in California by Douglas Gastelum, previously raised doubts about whether they were even denied permission to be on the tracks — or even if CSX actually owned or had authority over the tracks. They are asking Wright to reconsider his decision in light of the investigation as well as other evidence they have gathered.

Gastelum said that Film Allman was not aware of more specific information regarding the investigation, but said in a court filing that the “logical areas of inquiry” include who actually had ownership of the train tracks and authority to grant permission, and whether Film Allman employees had knowledge of “any prohibition to be on the tracks.”

News of the FBI inquiry was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

A hearing is set for June 12.