Feds search another Mississippi attorney’s office

Hood hired Langston’s firm to represent the State in its lawsuit against MCI that alleged the company owed millions in back taxes. As part of the $100 million settlement, Langston’s firm received $7 million and the Louisiana firm that first noticed the problem received another $7 million.

State Auditor Phil Bryant, who will soon take office as Lieutenant Governor, wants the attorneys fees returned, and Langston’s firm asked a bankruptcy judge in New York to decide the dispute.

Langston’s complaint calls Bryant “a political opportunist.” Last year, Bryant had determined that a $4.2 million payment to the state’s Children’s Justice Center using settlement funds was inappropriate. Hood had given the center $2.95 million, and Langston provided $1.25 million.

At the time of the settlement, Balducci worked at Langston’s firm. Hood appointed he and Langston special assistant attorneys general, and both were also campaign contributors to Hood.

According to the indictment of Scruggs, Balducci claims he and Scruggs know where “bodies” are “buried.”

Scruggs has long had ties to the Attorney General’s Office in Mississippi. His firm earned $1.4 billion when it was hired by former Attorney General Mike Moore to negotiate the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in the late 1990s.

Scruggs faces up to 75 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

John O’Brien
Legal Newsline