In his appeal, Nowlin insisted he was actually innocent and got ineffective counsel from his attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland. Farese maintains this is not true.
Nowlin also claimed Massey had permission to work for him, that neither of them could influence insurance rates at issue and neither took an overt act to further the conspiracy.
“Nowlin’s arguments would be plausible,” Mills writes in the 13-page opinion, “except every one of them is undermined by his testimony before the grand jury” and in documents he signed and during his plea hearing testimony.
In his plea hearing, Nowlin testified that he knew the payments were contrary to Mississippi law. He also conceded he paid Massey $551,000 to do “very little” consulting work.
The judge termed Nowlin’s accusations of ineffective counsel as “without merit” as he dismissed the motion.