Defendants Acquitted in Judicial Bribery Trial

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

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Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, Jr., was found not guilty of bribery charges by a federal jury on Friday. Jurors also found a prominent Gulf Coast attorney and two former trial judges innocent of some of the 17 counts against them, but failed to return a verdict on other charges in the state's judicial bribery case. The verdict came on the seventh day of deliberations.

Paul Minor, one of the state's most politically active attorneys, was accused of using cash, loans and gifts to secure favorable decisions in cases before Diaz and former judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield.

The jury found Diaz innocent on four counts, including bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud charges. Minor was found innocent of extortion, bribery and four counts of mail fraud. The jury failed to reach a verdict on wire fraud and two bribery counts against Minor.

Whitfield was found innocent of wire fraud, but jurors failed to return a verdict on bribery and mail fraud charges.

The jury didn't return a verdict on bribery, wire fraud or mail fraud counts against Teel.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said the trial exposed wrongdoings and he's inclined to retry the case.

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