Democrat Jim Hood attempts cover-up of interference in corruption investigation
His only witness says, ‘I don’t know anything about it’
Yesterday, Simpson County Sheriff Ken Lewis described to the press his work to stop corrupt activity by a police chief in his county. After taking information to Jim Hood’s office, details of his investigation were leaked back to the police chief who warned the Sheriff he had “friends in high places.” Sheriff Lewis discusses this incident in a new ad by the Mike Hurst for Attorney General campaign.
Today, Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood’s campaign attempted to dismiss this incident with a statement from a person without knowledge of it who said he didn’t know anything about it.
“I hope this isn’t how Jim Hood practices law. His star witness basically said, ‘I don’t know anything about it,’” said Hurst campaign manager D.J. Eckert. “And how would he? The Attorney General’s Office would not be bragging to the Auditor’s Office how they tipped off the suspect, and the FBI doesn’t gossip. As Jim Hood has said, the FBI asked the Attorney General Hood’s Office to discontinue its involvement. We now know why – because Jim Hood’s office leaked evidence and alerted a criminal target in a high-profile public corruption case. The facts are clear.”
Yesterday, Jim Hood’s campaign released an internal public integrity division report from the Office of Attorney General dated over five years ago that supports the timeline Sheriff Lewis provided. The report details that on July 8, 2010, the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office provided information to the Attorney General’s Office about the corrupt police chief’s criminal actions.
Shortly thereafter, the chief was tipped off to the investigation and then warned the Sheriff he had ‘friends in high places,’ reciting to the Sheriff some of the same information the Sheriff had provided to Jim Hood’s office.
The indictment of the corrupt police chief, returned by a Federal Grand Jury over two years ago, makes it clear that the police chief learned about the investigation, on or around July 26, after which the police chief began a cover-up scheme (see paragraphs 20-21 of the indictment here: http://www.hurstforag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Indictment-Bruce-Barlow-Copy.pdf).
Finally, the internal report from the Attorney General’s Office given to the press by Jim Hood’s campaign shows that only after the date on which the police chief was tipped off and began attempting to cover up his scheme did the FBI, on August 19, 2010, inform the Attorney General’s Office that the FBI was investigating and would be presenting the case for federal prosecution.
This proves that the allegation was not made up for a campaign. As illustrated from the indictment, these were facts found and returned by a Federal Grand Jury over two years ago.
“It is sad when our Democrat Attorney General uses a former employee of the Auditor’s Office who never worked directly with me, the lead prosecutor on the case, to make allegations that he never heard anything. As demonstrated by his statement, not everyone was privy to all of the sensitive evidence in the case that I, the FBI, and the Federal Grand Jury possessed, as illustrated by the indictment. The bottom line is we need a leader in the Office of Attorney General who will be a full time prosecutor, who will be in the office everyday, and who will ensure this type of activity doesn’t happen again in our state. If allegations come forward like this when I am Attorney General, I will investigate the leak, not insult the whistle-blower,” said Mike Hurst, Republican Candidate for Mississippi Attorney General.
Hurst continued, “The account of Sheriff Lewis is consistent with my knowledge of this case as I worked with the FBI to prosecute this corrupt police chief, and as reflected by the facts in the indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury.”
Sheriff Lewis said, “I am a sworn officer of the law who discovered a police chief in my county was corrupt and harming citizens. When I went to the Attorney General’s Office for help, not only did they not help, but they actively interfered in my investigation. Now they want to call me a liar? That’s despicable, and Jim Hood should not only apologize but also get his office and his campaign under control. I’m sure he is embarrassed by their behavior. I would be, too. But the appropriate thing to do is fix the problem, not attempt a cover-up.”
Mike Hurst Press Release