Hood offers DAs help in bribe cases

Attorney General Jim Hood has told three district attorneys his office is at their disposal if they want to pursue state charges in connection with current judicial bribery cases.

The offer was communicated in a Feb. 25 letter to the prosecutors.

Hood, a second-term Democrat from Chickasaw County, has come under criticism for saying he did not intend to pursue state charges because it would be like prosecuting a relative.

Many of the attorneys involved in the high-profile federal investigation – among them, Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Oxford and Joey Langston of Booneville – either had done work for Hood’s office, contributed to his campaigns or both.

Langston, who has pleaded guilty to judicial bribery charges involving a Hinds County case, was hired by Hood to represent the state against MCI. His efforts brought the state more than $100 million, and he was part of a group of attorneys who received $14 million in legal fees.

Langston and Scruggs, who is accused of trying to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City, have contributed to Hood, as have Tim Balducci and Steve Patterson of New Albany.

Balducci and Patterson, like Langston, pleaded guilty to federal judicial bribery charges. Scruggs and two other attorneys are awaiting federal trial.

On Feb. 25, Hood sent letters to District Attorneys John Young of Corinth, Ben Creekmore of New Albany and Robert Schuler Smith of Jackson.

He told them “the full resources of my office will be available to you should you decide to pursue state charges … .

NE MS Daily Journal

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