Ethics Probe of Judges

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A newspaper says federal authorities are investigating whether some Mississippi judges took out loans that were repaid by prominent trial lawyers who argued cases in their courts.

The Sun Herald reports that investigators believe the judges borrowed thousands of dollars from the peoples bank of Biloxi and Merchants and Marine Bank in Jackson County.

According to the report, Mississippi Supreme Court justice Oliver Diaz, Jr., is among the judges.

The newspaper says investigators found that plaintiffs' attorneys subsequently repaid the loans.

The Sun Herald reports attorneys Paul Minor of Ocean Springs and Richard ``Dickie'' Scruggs of Pascagoula are being investigated by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in Jackson. The newspaper quotes a source close to the investigation.

Attorney General Mike Moore, a longtime associate of Scruggs, and Harrison County District Attorney Cono Caranna are assisting with the investigation.

A Federal Grand Jury is expected to convene around the end of this month. No formal charges have been filed.

The newspaper said it could not reach Minor, Scruggs or Diaz for comment. Moore and Caranna could not be immediately contacted Monday for comment.


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