In a big procedural win for State Auditor Stacey Pickering, a NY Federal Judge has upheld a lower court decision to allow an action by Pickering to pursue the recapture of $14,000,000 in fees paid to Joey Langston in the MCI case. These fees, largely facilitated by State Attorney General Jim Hood (coincidentally, the largest recipient of Langston’s political funding largesse), should be allocated by the Mississippi Legislature according to Pickering. This comes on the heels of a tough week for Joey Langston in which it was accidentally leaked about the extent of his cooperation in the “Scruggs I” and “Scruggs II” matters with the US Attorney as well as some other unrelated matters. Langston is scheduled for sentencing on December 16th.
The battle will now move to the courtroom of Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd. Even if Kidd does not rule in favor of the taxpayers, his ruling may be appealed up through the Mississippi Supreme Court. Experts see this battle shaping up much like the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi’s battle to keep $20,000,000 per year in magically allocated funds. If it winds up in the MSSC, they would likely have a tough time reconciling a decision to allow Langston to keep these funds while stripping the Partnership of theirs.
This could shape up to be a huge recovery of state taxpayer money for Stacey Pickering. Expect this battle to go all the way to the MSSC no matter what.