We now have two independent sources telling us that Oxford, Miss., criminal defense lawyer Christi McCoy’s candidacy for Northern District of Mississippi U.S. Attorney appears to have run off the rails. We’re now hearing that Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis Ivy in Oxford is the leading candidate. We’d earlier reported that Circuit Court Judge Thomas Gardner of Tupelo was in the mix.
Admittedly, we don’t have great insight into this one. McCoy and Ivy didn’t return phone calls, and a spokesman for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who reportedly recommended McCoy to replace Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, won’t comment. “We have not made any of our recommendations public in order not to prejudice the White House vetting process,” Thompson’s deputy chief of staff, Karis Gutter, told me Tuesday.
After we posted this item back in May saying McCoy had hit a “snag” in the vetting process, Mississippi legal reporter Patsy Brumfield reported June 16 that Thompson had formally recommended McCoy to the White House.
Later, we learned that snag was related to McCoy’s professional connections to two figures in the famous Dickie Scruggs case. Scruggs is the mega-rich trial lawyer and brother-in-law of former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) who pleaded guilty in connection with two sets of charges alleging he attempted to bribe judges in Mississippi.
McCoy once worked at the law firm of Joey Langston, who pleaded guilty to conspiring with Scruggs to bribe a judge. McCoy also represented former State Auditor Steve Patterson, who pleaded guilty in another Scruggs-related judge bribery case. I’m not sure why that would necessarily disqualify her – but the White House is very skittish about controversy of any kind in the U.S. Attorney selections. We also heard about something else on McCoy’s application that wasn’t quite in order, but couldn’t confirm the information.
Langston pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiring to bribe Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter to rule favorably on a Scruggs case. Langston allegedly dangled the prospect of a federal judgeship for DeLaughter – with help from Lott, who as senator was in a position to help push candidates through. Lott later acknowledged he’d called DeLaughter about the judgeship but said he didn’t actually recommend DeLaughter, who wasn’t nominate