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The career of Dunn Lampton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, may be an example of what a "loyal Bushie" is supposed to do with his office.

In summer 2003-- i.e., in the same season as Mississippi's gubernatorial election-- U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton indicted Oliver Diaz Jr., a state Supreme Court justice, and Paul Minor, a trial lawyer, on bribery-related charges. This article from the Magnolia Report says that "State and national Democrats are crying foul at the move, claiming it is a Bush Administration attempt to chill trial lawyer contributions to their candidates." (Minor and his firm gave some $129,000 in donations to Edwards during his 2004 presidential campaign.) Diaz was originally appointed to the Supreme Court by Democratic governor Ronnie Musgrove, who lost to Barbour in the 2003 election.

When the trial ended in acquittal for all defendants, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger noted "From the outset, it seemed that federal prosecutors had a weak case -- not from the massive testimony about loans, gifts and favors, revealing the ugly underbelly of justice in Mississippi but proving that anything illegal happened..."

This February 2007 post notes that Minor's second trial is just beginning. The original indictment, the author notes, "all but ensured that trial lawyers stopped giving money to the Democratic party and to its candidates in the state, giving the GOP and the business groups a huge spending advantage. (There is no other source of money for progressive candidates in Mississippi besides trial lawyers.)" The author adds that "Why the U.S. Attorney got involved at all is something of a mystery, given that the crimes involved are state misdemeanor campaign finance violations."

Finally, this blog post argues that Lampton’s original vendetta against Minor may have begun because Minor had won a judgment against a company owned by one of Lampton’s relatives. It points out that-- ironically enough-- when Lampton ran for Congress as a Republican in 2000, his campaign was fined by the FEC for violating contribution rules.

Originally posted to Patience on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 08:43 PM PDT.

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