Federal officials are trying to reduce the prison sentence given to the owner a failed beef plant because he helped them prosecute others in the scheme that cost Mississippi millions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, in a motion filed Friday in federal court in Oxford, asked that Richard N. Hall’s eight-year prison term be reduced, but didn’t make any recommendation for how much.

Greenlee said in the motion that Hall gave detailed statements regarding the fraudulent activities of James Draper, a refrigeration company sales representative, and the Facility Group of Smyrna, Ga.

The motion said Hall “assisted the government investigators in understanding construction practices, which significantly aided the prosecutors in drafting of subpoenas, other requests for documents and materials and charges.”

The Facility Group was responsible for the design and construction of the beef plant that closed just three months after it opened in 2004, leaving 400 people out of work.

This week, three executives of the Facility Group pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the case.

Moultrie and Cawood admitted to illegally giving the Democrat Musgrove a $25,000 “gratuity” during his 2003 gubernatorial re-election campaign he lost to Republican Haley Barbour. Musgrove, who is now challenging U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. in November, has not been charged. Musgrove has said he’s done nothing wrong.

A federal jury in Oxford last month convicted Draper of money laundering and interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud. He had been accused of keeping money that was intended to buy equipment for the plant. The motion said Hall’s testimony at Draper’s trial played a part in the conviction.

AP
8/17/8