BEEF PLANT CHARGES: Defendants say election gifts not illegal

Three executives and their companies accused in a fraud conspiracy surrounding construction of the defunct Mississippi Beef Plant want the court to stop the government from introducing information about campaign contribution reimbursements during a 2003 state election.

In documents filed Wednesday, they insist it’s not illegal in Mississippi to reimburse employees for donations to a state political campaign.

This new motion says they admit to hosting a campaign fundraiser and to reimbursing employees who contributed.

But, they say, “there is no clear law making the alleged acts a crime.”

Evidence about the reimbursement will only confuse and mislead the jury they add, especially in this presidential election year with media reports about federal election law, which is different from state law.

The Daily Journal was first to report the unnamed official as then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. Now a candidate for U.S. Senate, he insists he has done nothing wrong.

Prosecutors have not yet responded to the defense contentions about their fundraising actions not being illegal.

NE MS Daily Journal