Wingate to Hear Bribery Case

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U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate says he will preside over the judicial bribery trial of a Mississippi Supreme Court justice, a prominent coast attorney and two former judges.

Wingate denied a motion by defendant Wes Teel, who asked Wingate to give the case to another judge and replace the federal prosecution team.

Wingate Tuesday described Teel's request as frivolous and not supported by the facts.

On Monday, Wingate refused to dismiss charges in the bribery case now set for trial Wednesday in Jackson.

Teel, Gulf Coast attorney Paul Minor, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, Jr., and John H. Whitfield have pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering, bribery and fraud.

The government claims Minor got favorable decisions from the judges in return for money.