Investigation Targets Lawyers, Judges & Loans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/07/02

Investigation Targets Lawyers, Judges & Loans

According to several people we talked to Monday, the federal investigation is looking at campaign contributions for judges from trial lawyers and bank loans made to judges. Dickie Scruggs was in California Monday, but told us investigators asked him specifically about State Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz. 

Scruggs said, "I've answered all their questions. They questioned me about campaign contributions I made to Oliver Diaz in the last two years. It appears there is a broad investigation ongoing regarding trial lawyers, judges and loans."

Scruggs denies that he repaid loans for Diaz or any other judge.  Scruggs says federal agents questioned him last month,  and he hasn't heard from them since.

Scruggs would not confirm whether Biloxi attorney Paul Minor is also a target of the probe, but Minor's attorney did. Minor is out of town. His lawyer Joe Sam Owen today confirmed Minor is under investigation, but stressed Minor has "not" been charged or accused of anything illegal. 

Federal investigators are not talking about the case. Neither Attorney General Mike Moore nor District Attorney Cono Caranna will confirm whether their offices have had any role in the investigation.

Late this afternoon, Justice Oliver Diaz issued a statement through his ex-wife Jennifer. 

Justice Diaz says, "If there is an investigation into my campaign, I will work with the authorities involved to answer any of their questions. All of my campaign finances are on record with the Secretary of State's office according to state law. "

By: Marcia Hill

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