Northern Mississippi US Attorney Pick Advances
By Mary Jacoby | June 30, 2022 1:33 am

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

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