The Kings of Tort: Did Chapter Four (Paul Minor) provide honest service to the book’s readers? (part 2 of 2)

As the title indicates, the issue explored in this two-part post is how the recently published Kings of Tort treated the circumstances surrounding the indictment and conviction of Paul Minor and the co-defendants of USA v Minor.  On 10 December when the post was written, there was no Fifth Circuit opinion to distract and confuse readers as there is now that part one of the post has published.

Although the Fifth’s opinion has already answered the title question for some, the set of documents linked in part one – a Letter to Attorney General Holder and Minor’s Appellate Brief – provided a start point for developing a detailed and more easily documented response.   The differing jury instructions and the evidentiary issues documented in the Letter and Brief had a significant impact on the outcome of Minor’s second trial; but, there were other equally significant distinctions between the two trials:

…on August 12, 2005, after deliberating for one week, the jury announced a partial verdict, acquitting Mr. Minor on six counts (four mail fraud counts, one bribery count, and one extortion count), partly acquitting Judge Whitfield, and fully acquitting Justice Diaz. (D431 at 1453-58.) The district court declared a mistrial as to all other counts, including eight against Mr. Minor. (Id.)

Despite this failure to obtain a single conviction, the government decided to retry the remaining pieces of the case. On December 6, 2005, it filed a Third Superseding Indictment against Mr. Minor and Judges Whitfield and Teel, recharging those counts subject to the mistrial-racketeering, fraud, and federal program bribery-and adding three new charges: one against Mr. Minor and Judge Whitfield for conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and honest services fraud and federal program bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 666; a nearly identical conspiracy charge against Mr. Minor and Judge Teel; and a charge against Mr. Minor and Judge Whitfield for mail and honest services fraud. (D454.) Continue reading “The Kings of Tort: Did Chapter Four (Paul Minor) provide honest service to the book’s readers? (part 2 of 2)”

Honest Services (part 2) – a Supremely interesting commentary

“ The prosecutor has more power over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.”

United States Attorney General and Supreme Court Jus tice Robert H. Jackson

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz provided a supremely interesting commentary on his  “up close and personal” experience  with the honest services law and federal prosecutors, USA v Minor et al,  in a review of the Kings of Torts published in the  Northside Sun, a popular Jackson weekly .

We are left to wonder why the court records were not sufficient to support the author’s positions and opinions? Why do they resort to unsworn statements and unproven allegations?

Specifically, why did the authors feel compelled to state as fact that I lived in a condominium owned by Paul Minor free of charge when prosecutors offered no proof of this because they discovered that it was not true? Why did they describe an event involving Paul Minor at a hotel bar, when court testimony clearly showed the event did not occur? Continue reading “Honest Services (part 2) – a Supremely interesting commentary”

White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort

Given his history as former chief counsel to former Senator Trent Lott, others may not consider Jackson attorney Steve Seale a white knight for taking issue with King of Torts author and former AUSA Tom Dawson at the monthly meeting meeting of the Capitol Press Corps.  However, before Mr. Seale went to Washington, he was a member of the Mississippi State Senate who earned white knight status for the strength of character he regularly demonstrated in discussions of difficult issues. Given that history, Mr. Seale’s remarks are worthy of more consideration than the clarification published yesterday:

As Magnolia Marketplace reported here, Seale had some pretty strong words for Dawson, who was the lead prosecutor in the judicial bribery cases that led to Dickie Scruggs being hauled off to prison.

Anyway, Seale was a little upset because I didn’t talk to him afterward to get a completely clear picture of what he meant before I posted the original entry. Fair enough.

So after a 15-minute phone conversation with Seale, here’s what we know:

Seale said he has no problem with Dawson writing a book about the Scruggs cases per se. The issue is Dawson profiting from work he performed while he was a federal prosecutor. (Dawson has since retired from the post.)

“I think a prosecutor should be held to a higher standard,” Seale said. Continue reading “White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort”

Saturday Music: Dedicated to Alan Lange, Tom Dawson, Geoff Pender and of course Lecky King

Writers of nonfiction should always have their facts straight.
Reviewers of books should actually read the books they rate.
Misgendering Lecky King is a frequent mistake.