The Clarion-Ledger, 12/8/8

After working its way through the federal courts, a dispute over millions of dollars in legal fees between the Mississippi auditor’s office and two former lawyers goes before a state court judge today.

Former lawyers Joey Langston and Timothy Balducci – who were disbarred after pleading guilty in an unrelated judicial bribery investigation – are trying to hang on to $14 million in legal fees they negotiated with MCI after suing the telecommunications company on the state’s behalf.

State Auditor Stacy Pickering says the money belongs to Mississippi taxpayers.

“Langston and other attorneys who worked on this case deserve compensation, but the funds should have been appropriated by the Legislature,” Pickering said Friday in a statement.