Schloemer e-mailed LegalNewsline.com on Friday with a message for Rossmiller:
“I don’t expect this will ever make it into print, but I would appreciate if you would pass along to Mr. Rossmiller that he would be hard-pressed to find a prosecutor anywhere who considers it an advantage to have a witness testify while on someone else’s payroll as a consultant. I had also spoken with the Scruggs Katrina Group and confirmed that Ford was not working for them at the time I interviewed him and they had no plans to hire him.
“If he had been on the payroll, I would have wanted to take that into account myself as well as make sure the grand jurors took it into account in evaluating his testimony. The situation is no different from one in which a victim in a rape case testifies while also suing the landlord for insufficient security, or having a victim who has a book deal in the works before trial. It can taint the testimony. It’s a standard precaution I take with witnesses.
“Secondly, I happen to be a chauvinist for the criminal system and believe that criminal prosecutions are more important than any civil lawsuit. But it is a fact of life that when bad things happen, both the criminal justice system and private civil litigants will take an interest. My advice to all the plaintiffs’ bar has been throughout to get out of the way and let us do our job.
“The burden of proof in the criminal system is the highest in the legal system. If we proved our case, the plaintiffs’ bar would have plenty of time to make their own cases, and their burden would be much lighter than if the criminal cases had not taken place. That, again, is just a statement of fact. It does not mean that the criminal prosecution was designed to help the plaintiffs’ bar.
“If I wanted to help the plaintiffs’ bar, I’d just go on out and join them (and probably double my salary in the process). Dickie Scruggs isn’t exactly a charity case. He has his own plane. He obviously doesn’t need my help making money.
“This is all a little like kicking someone who has their hands tied behind their back. We can’t disclose what we know from the grand jury, because there is an ongoing investigation, albeit temporarily enjoined by the federal courts. So while we may have information responsive to some of the points being discussed by people who do NOT have access to grand jury information, we are not at liberty to present the other side of the story.
“I am constantly surprised though at those who, without reviewing one document from the grand jury investigation, will swear on a stack that State Farm did no wrong. How do you know?
“If you would bother to check with our local insurance fraud community, they will tell you that my staff and I work very hard to lock up people who rip off insurance companies. We are just regular state employees doing our job. I sincerely hope the criminal defense bar here does not latch on to your comments and try to discredit my investigators and me in all of our pending cases in which insurance companies are the victim.
“Maybe Mr. Rossmiller considers me collateral damage, but I have three investigators working with me who participated in the State Farm investigation and they deserve better than this. If you want to go after the people who put their names on the ballot or make millions of dollars every year, then have at it, but I would appreciate it if you would at least try to get our side of the story before you drag ordinary people through the mud.”