In a joint statement yesterday, the Mississippi Beef Processors Joint Investigative Task Force of federal and state law enforcement officials outlined the current stage of the investigation, trials and plea agreements. The expected officials were all represented on the Task Force — the FBI, the US Attorney, the State Auditor — all present and accounted for.
But where was Attorney General Jim Hood? Mr. Hood, as readers might recall, withdrew from the Task Force very early on, in the stated interest of pursuing his own beef plant investigation. Sounds strangely like something OJ Simpson would have said.
And in a troubling parallel, readers will also remember that Mr. Hood chose not to participate or seek state charges against the Dickie Scruggs crowd in the judicial bribery cases, because, he said, it would have been like prosecuting family.
To date, the Beef Plant cases have resulted in five felony guilty pleas and a felony conviction at trial. It is yet to be seen whether there is more to come in those cases. To date, the judicial bribery cases have resulted in six felony guilty pleas. It is a virtual certainty that there is more to come there.
In these two corruption investigations, law enforcement officials doing their duty have obtained eleven felony pleas plus a felony conviction, and counting.
But where was Mr. Hood?