Posts Tagged ‘Joey Langston’
Friday, January 22nd, 2010

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee on Wednesday announced he will retire as the top federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Mississippi on Jan. 31, The Associated Press reports. The Bush holdover has been the district’s U.S. Attorney since 2001.

Over the weekend, we reported that Greenlee would be leaving his post soon, as Gina Phillips Kilgore, chief deputy for operations at the U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., sent out an e-mail titled “Jim Greenlee Retirement Reception.” A copy of the email was forwarded to The Daily Journal of Mississippi.

President Obama has yet to nominate a replacement for Greenlee. Oxford-based defense lawyer Christi McCoy has been under consideration for the job, but we reported last month that her candidacy stalled over questions about her affiliation with a private investigator under investigation for allegedly padding his bills.

Mississippi lawyers have told us Greenlee wrote a letter to the Justice Department about McCoy’s ties to the private investigator, but Greenlee’s office has declined to say whether such a letter exists. Main Justice submitted a Freedom of Information Act request in November asking for a copy of any letter, if it exists.

McCoy was recommended for the U.S. Attorney post by Mississippi Reps. Bennie Thompson and Travis Childers, both Democrats.

McCoy once worked at the law firm of Joey Langston — who pleaded guilty to conspiring with Scruggs to bribe a judge. She also represented former state auditor Steve Patterson, who pleaded guilty in another Scruggs-related judicial bribery case.

Another possible candidate is Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis Ivy.

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee soon will be leaving his post as the top federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Mississippi, The Daily Journal of Mississippi reports. The Bush holdover has been the district’s U.S. Attorney since 2001.

Greenlee’s departure has been rumored for months, amid various reports that made his Oxford-based office seem something of a soap opera.

The latest: Mississippi journalist Patsy Brumfield reports that an FBI agent who was indicted last week for failing to disclose a personal financial interest in the FBI building in Oxford had sought whistle blower status a couple of years ago after reporting concerns that Greenlee’s office had improperly targeted area Muslims for investigation after the 9/11 attacks.

The so-called Convenience Store Initiative didn’t find any terrorist links, but prosecutors did end up charging some 60 people with selling excessive amounts of pseudoephedrine, used to make methamphetamine, an illegal drug.

The agent, Hal Neilson, also reportedly raised ethics concerns about a book that a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the district, Tom Dawson, wrote about his prosecution of billionaire Mississippi trial lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs in a judicial bribery scandal, Brumfield wrote. Read our previous report on Dawson’s book here.

Greenlee and the office’s spokesman have declined to comment about his rumored departure.

On Friday, Gina Phillips Kilgore, chief deputy for operations at the U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., on Friday sent out an email titled “Jim Greenlee Retirement Reception.” A copy of the email was forwarded to The Daily Journal.

The email indicated the retirement party will take place on Jan. 29 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oxford-University United Methodist All-Purpose Center, The Daily Journal reported.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Martin reportedly will serve as the office’s interim U.S. Attorney, according to The Daily Journal.

President Obama has yet to nominate a replacement for Greenlee. Oxford-based defense lawyer Christi McCoy has been under consideration for the job. We reported last month that her candidacy stalled over questions about her affiliation with a private investigator under investigation for allegedly padding his bills.

Mississippi lawyers have told us Greenlee wrote a letter to the DOJ about McCoy’s ties to the private investigator, but Greenlee’s office has declined to say whether such a letter exists. Main Justice submitted a Freedom of Information Act request in November asking for a copy of any letter, if it exists.

McCoy was recommended for the U.S. Attorney post by Mississippi Reps. Bennie Thompson and Travis Childers, both Democrats.

McCoy once worked at the law firm of Joey Langston — who pleaded guilty to conspiring with Scruggs to bribe a judge. She also represented former state auditor Steve Patterson, who pleaded guilty in another Scruggs-related judicial bribery case.

For more on McCoy’s candidacy, click here.

Joe Palazzolo contributed to this report.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said the Mississippi Northern District U.S. Attorney job was not part of the discussion he had today with Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis Ivy, who has been mentioned as a candidate for the position. Ivy met with Thompson on Thursday, while the prosecutor was in Washington for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and Asset Forfeiture Program (OCDETF) national leadership conference.

Bennie Thompson (Gov)

Bennie Thompson (Gov)

The congressman said in a interview with Main Justice that the meeting was “private” and had “nothing to do with the U.S. Attorney” position. He declined to comment on what the two discussed.

We reported last week that Oxford criminal defense lawyer Christi McCoy, the Thompson-backed candidate for Mississippi Northern District U.S. Attorney, appeared to have run into trouble during the vetting process.

McCoy’s professional relationships with two figures in the Dickie Scruggs case is thought by Mississippi legal figures to be behind the White House’s apparent skittishness. Scruggs, the brother-in-law of former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), is a trial lawyer who became enormously wealthy suing the tobacco companies in the 1990s. He 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.

Thompson said in the interview today that he continued to support McCoy. Thompson is playing a leading role in Mississippi U.S. Attorney recommendations because the state’s two senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, are Republicans.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The Obama administration is proceeding with an abundance of caution in the U.S. Attorney selection process. For that reason, Oxford, Miss., criminal defense attorney Christi McCoy hit a bit of a hiccup in the vetting process earlier this year for the Northern District of Mississippi, we’re told. McCoy had 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. Apparently, even the whiff of controversy — no matter how tangential – is enough to give the vetters pause.

But now McCoy’s nomination appears solidly on track. Mississippi legal reporter Patsy Brumfield reported June 16 that Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) had formally recommended McCoy to the White House. Thompson told Main Justice in May that he’d made his recommendations, but wouldn’t confirm any names. (Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are Republicans, so Mississippi’s congressional Democrats led by Thompson get to make the recommendation.)

Since then, we’ve talked with  two people knowledgeable about the process who say McCoy is indeed the prime candidate to replace Bush-appointee Jim Greenlee.

We’d reported earlier about rumors that McCoy had hit an unknown “snag” in the process. Now we hear that snag  apparently was her former employment with the law firm of Joey Langston — who pleaded guilty to conspiring with Scruggs to bribe a judge — and her representation of former State Auditor Steve Patterson, who pleaded guilty in another Scruggs-related judge bribery case.

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 Scruggs’s brother-in-law, 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 nominated.

McCoy is a 1994 graduate of Ole Miss law school. Thompson