Edward Hagen interview
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.
Investigators identified Edward Hagen as one of the men pictured in the photographs found in Monica Drum's safe deposit box.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy asked the congressman to come in so they could ask him about those photos and his relationship with Monica Drum. Mr. Hagen was accompanied by his attorney, Jarvis "Bubba" Gordon.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Edward Hagen
- Jarvis Gordon
Detective Armstrong: Good evening, Congressman Hagen. It's an honor to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to talk with us. And this must be your lawyer.
Jarvis Gordon: Jarvis Gordon, I'll be representing Congressman Hagen this evening.
Detective Murphy: Very well. Congressman, could you please state your name and date of birth for the record?
Edward Hagen: Representative Edward Monroe Hagen, March 29, 1953.
Detective Armstrong: I hope you didn't have to travel too far, Congressman.
Edward Hagen: Not at all, detective. I was actually already in town with my wife to spend some time with our daughter.
Detective Armstrong: Your daughter lives in Oxford?
Edward Hagen: She goes to Ole Miss. My wife and I flew in for a long weekend. I've got to fly back to D.C. early in the morning.
Detective Murphy: If I remember, your family owns property not far from the university. Is that where you're staying right now?
Edward Hagen: Hey, Bubba, are these detectives good at their jobs or what?
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Congressman. Since you say you've been in town for a few days now, I'm sure you know the reason we want to speak with you today.
Edward Hagen: Well, not just to congratulate me on a successful term, I hope?
Detective Murphy: Have you been keeping up with the local news, Congressman?
Jarvis Gordon: Detective, could you please be more specific? As far as anyone's concerned, my client is an expert on the news due to the nature of his occupation, so we'd appreciate it if you could narrow down the topic.
Detective Armstrong: Does the name Monica Drum sound familiar?
Edward Hagen: I— Well, I'm not personally familiar with the name, but I think I've seen her on the news. Was she murdered?
Detective Armstrong: That's right. Monica Drum was the managing editor of the Oxford Eagle. Last weekend, she was found at the Eagle office, dead in a pool of her own blood.
Detective Murphy: As a politician, you have regular dealings with the news media. Did that include the Oxford Eagle?
Edward Hagen: Of course.
Detective Murphy: In all your dealings with them over the years, you've never once worked with Ms. Drum?
Edward Hagen: No, no. I've never had any kind of personal contact with her. The only Oxford Eagle employee I've spoken to enough to know the name was the publisher, Craig Pegues. Drives a hard bargain, that one.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you had any communications with the Oxford Eagle?
Edward Hagen: In early June, my campaign manager made a deal with Pegues to buy up some more ad space in the Eagle. It cost the campaign a pretty penny, but I guess it was worth the price.
Detective Murphy: What about direct communications between you and the Eagle?
Edward Hagen: I can't even remember. I've been so busy the last six months that I seem to forget all the little details. But you know what? I think I may have called the Eagle sometime last month to thank them for their contribution to a successful campaign. Purely perfunctory, of course.
Detective Armstrong: Do you remember who you spoke to?
Edward Hagen: Well, the voicemail. It's impossible to get a call through to their office.
Detective Armstrong: What about the Oxford Eagle? Has anyone on their end made an effort in the past four weeks to communicate with you, Congressman?
Edward Hagen: Members of the press contact my office all the time, so I'm sure they have.
Detective Murphy: Have you personally spoken with anyone from the Eagle in the last month or so?
Edward Hagen: Not that I recall, but it's possible.
Detective Murphy: Do you know why Ms. Drum repeatedly contacted your Jackson office in the days before her murder?
Edward Hagen: What? I don't know what you're talking about.
Detective Armstrong: I'm a bit confused too. If, as you say, you had no personal contact with Monica Drum, why was she trying so hard to reach you?
Edward Hagen: I have no idea. Maybe she wanted an interview.
Detective Murphy: Do you know what she wanted to interview you about?
Edward Hagen: I don't know. My staff might be able to tell you.
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Detective Armstrong: If you don't mind, Senator— oh, I'm sorry. You're not a senator yet, are you? Congressman, if you would, take a look at these photographs. Do you think this might've been what she wanted to talk to you about?
Edward Hagen: Jesus… Where did you—
Jarvis Gordon: Ed, please. Detectives, how did you come to possess these photos?
Detective Murphy: We found them in Monica Drum's safe deposit box. With a search warrant, of course.
Jarvis Gordon: May I see a copy of the warrant?
Detective Murphy: Sure.
Edward Hagen: Detectives, I apologize, but I just realized that I have to attend a teleconference with some colleagues from D.C. Perhaps we could continue this some other time?
Detective Armstrong: It's not a problem, Congressman. But you realize how your leaving right now would look to us, in light of the investigation.
Jarvis Gordon: We'll stay, detectives. My client has nothing to hide.
Edward Hagen: I suppose I can reschedule.
Detective Armstrong: Excellent. Now, Congressman, can you identify the two men in these photos? Start with the one on the left.
Edward Hagen: That would be me, Detective.
Detective Armstrong: What about the man on the right?
Edward Hagen: His name is Jack Rowan.
Detective Murphy: And how do you know this Jack Rowan?
Edward Hagen: He runs a restaurant out near the county line, The Rebel Yell.
Detective Armstrong: A restaurant? Is that what we're calling it?
Detective Murphy: Do you know who the other two men in the photographs are?
Edward Hagen: I don't recall.
Detective Murphy: What is your relationship with Jack Rowan?
Edward Hagen: We meet up sometimes on weekends when I'm in town, have a couple of beers, play cards.
Detective Murphy: Where do you typically get together?
Edward Hagen: Different places.
Detective Murphy: At your house?
Edward Hagen: No, not there.
Detective Armstrong: Yeah, didn't think so.
Detective Murphy: Where then?
Edward Hagen: I guess usually over at The Rebel Yell.
Detective Murphy: Like in these photos?
Edward Hagen: Yeah. Big Jack has food, drinks, room for us to play cards. Nothing wrong with that.
Detective Murphy: When did you two first meet?
Edward Hagen: A few years ago, maybe? Through mutual friends. Turned out, we both enjoy cards, so we get together for a friendly poker game sometimes. So what?
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you got together for one of these friendly games?
Edward Hagen: It's been a while. I've been so busy.
Detective Murphy: And when you call it a friendly game, what do you mean?
Edward Hagen: Just a game among friends.
Detective Armstrong: But you don't know the other two guys in the photos. Strange kind of friends.
Jarvis Gordon: That's uncalled for, detective.
Detective Armstrong: I apologize. So these poker games, any money change hands?
Edward Hagen: They were just friendly games.
Detective Armstrong: So you were playing for … cookies? Tiddlywinks? What?
Jarvis Gordon: Detective, there's no need to be snide.
Detective Armstrong: Of course not. I'm sure those poker chips in the photos didn't have anything to do with money. But speaking of money, you know what else was in that safe deposit box?
Edward Hagen: How could I know that?
Detective Armstrong: $10,000 cash. That's something, isn't it?
Edward Hagen: Maybe she was saving for retirement.
Detective Murphy: I don't know. She didn't strike me as the retire-at-age-40 type. Do you have any idea how these photographs of you and Jack Rowan ended up in Ms. Drum's safe deposit box?
Edward Hagen: I don't know. I didn't know these photos existed.
Detective Murphy: So you never knew that Ms. Drum had these photos?
Edward Hagen: No, detective.
Detective Murphy: So if we told you your fingerprints were on that cash, how would you explain that?
Jarvis Gordon: Are his fingerprints on the cash?
Detective Armstrong: What do you think?
Jarvis Gordon: I think I'm going to instruct my client not to answer that.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. What if you had known the photos existed, Congressman?
Jarvis Gordon: Detective, I don't see how this is relevant. He already told you he didn't know about them.
Detective Armstrong: Purely hypothetical, Mr. Gordon. What's the harm? So Congressman, if you had known that Ms. Drum had these photos, what would you have done? Photos that, I might add, affiliate you with a rather disreputable member of the community and show you engaging in less-than-wholesome activities: drinking, gambling, who knows what else. What would your constituents think?
Edward Hagen: I don't know.
Detective Armstrong: Would you have been upset? Angry with Ms. Drum? Would you have killed her?
Edward Hagen: What? No! Of course, I didn't kill her, even though I was one of the few who saw her for what she really was.
Jarvis Gordon: Ed, that's enough.
Edward Hagen: No, you don't understand. I read those newspaper articles. Those reporters made her out to be such a saint, a damn martyr. Oh, her death was such a tragedy! An icon of justice, my ass.
Jarvis Gordon: Ed, I think we should continue this some other time.
Edward Hagen: No, these detectives need to know the truth. Drum was just as greedy and corrupt as all the politicians she dragged through the mud. She was a manipulative bitch, terrorizing the lives of innocent people with blackmail!
Detective Armstrong: Is that why you killed her?
Edward Hagen: No! I would have never killed her, even when she threatened to leak those…
Detective Murphy: Photos?
Edward Hagen: Right. Those photos. They cost me $10,000. It was right in the middle of my 2016 congressional campaign, and I couldn't let one slimy reporter ruin everything.
Detective Murphy: Where did you get the money to pay her?
Edward Hagen: From an old friend, Frank Wright.
Detective Armstrong: So you just called him up and said, "Hey, I need to pay some blackmail. Can you slip me 10 grand?"
Edward Hagen: Of course not. I explained that I needed to pay for my daughter's tuition at Ole Miss and that I was a bit tight on cash because my wife and I had just put a majority of our savings into a blind trust and didn't realize we couldn't withdraw that money.
Detective Armstrong: So you lied?
Edward Hagen: You could say that.
Detective Armstrong: And he bought it?
Edward Hagen: He loaned me the money. I can't tell you what was in the man's mind.
Detective Murphy: You didn't have any money of your own set aside?
Edward Hagen: What am I going to do? Write a personal check to a blackmailer? I couldn't pay that bloodsucker out of my own money. But I paid Frank back every cent in a couple months, and there was no problem.
Detective Murphy: So you borrowed the money from Mr. Knight to pay off Ms. Drum. She didn't give you the photos in exchange for the cash?
Edward Hagen: She told me when I paid her that she would destroy those photos. And I assumed she had, especially since so much time passed and she didn't ask for more. Of course, now I know she lied.
Detective Murphy: When did you find out?
Edward Hagen: A few months ago. She called me, saying she never got rid of the photos and would publish them if I didn't pay another $10,000.
Detective Murphy: Did you pay her off again?
Edward Hagen: I managed to convince her to wait until after the state primaries. I never paid her again, and even if I wanted to now, well…
Detective Armstrong: You used to be a prosecutor, right, Congressman?
Edward Hagen: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: So you know just how many laws you've already broken here. The way to help yourself is to tell us what you know about Monica Drum's murder.
Jarvis Gordon: Do you intend to arrest the congressman today?
Detective Armstrong: Maybe not today, but—
Jarvis Gordon: Then I think we're done here. If you need to speak with my client again, you may schedule it through my office.
Detective Murphy: All right, Mr. Gordon. Thank you for coming in today, Congressman. We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 6:53 p.m