Although I’ve faithfully followed the NEMS360.com coverage from the indictment of retired FBI Agent Hal Neilson through what is now the sixth day of his trial, you wouldn’t know it by reading SLABBED – not for lack of intent but lack of time.
Neilson first caught my eye in the Kings of Torts. Patsy Brumfield’s story for NEMS360, Indicted agent’s history shows feud with U.S. Attorney’s office, makes reference to the mention:
Neilson also reportedly raised ethics questions about former assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Dawson’s participation in a book about the office’s investigation and prosecution of then-Oxford attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, who was sentenced to prison on two guilty pleas related to judicial bribery indictments.
Before the book was released several weeks ago, a DOJ spokesman said Dawson had retired before he worked on it. Tension between Neilson and the U.S. Attorney’s Office first became public when it was mentioned in the book, although reasons for the problems were not given.
Neilson is also mentioned in Curtis Wilkie’s Fall of the House of Zeus
A serious schism had developed between the U. S. Attorney’s Office and the local FBI that threatened their ability to work together…In a confidential report drafted in September 2004 by Hal Neilson, the supervisory resident agent of the Oxford office, and endorsed by four of his agents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oxford was accused of deceit and excessive zeal…In the meantime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office opened its own investigation of Neilson…Determined to keep the Oxford FBI in the dark in the Scruggs case, Greenlee, Hailman and Dawson drove to Jackson to meet secretly with the state supervisor of the FBI. The Jackson FBI detailed Bill Delaney and agent who had already been working on a criminal case in North Mississippi…so it was thought no one would suspect a thing. (pages 154-155)
These facts, in familiar legal lingo, are uncontested – and the names are familiar, too: Greenlee, the U.S. attorney who authorized the indictment of Dick Scruggs; John Hailman, the AUSA who Judge Lackey went to with his concerns about Balducci’s offer of a future association with his firm; Bill Delaney, the agent who intercepted Balducci as he started his trip home following his delivery of the second $20,000 payment to Judge Lackey; and Tom Dawson, the lead prosecutor in the Scruggs case after Hailman’s retirement – and, the co-author of the Kings of Torts.
Not so familiar, however, is the important role FBI reports played in Scruggs I and Scruggs II and appear to be playing in the Neilson case. As we continue with NEMS360 reports on the indictment and trial of Hal Neilson, keep in mind that an FBI report, unlike an FBI transcript, has no backup recording as documentation. Continue reading “A little home cookin’ – FBI Agent on trial in (where else but) north Mississippi!”