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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mississippi Churning, Part XXIII

Paul Minor and Dunn Lampton have been political adversaries for many years. In fact, their relationship sounds strikingly similar to that of Judge Mark Fuller and Don Siegelman in Alabama, which was presented in stark detail recently in an affidavit from Missouri attorney Paul Benton Weeks.

If anything, the Minor/Lampton relationship might be even more contentious than the Siegelman/Fuller pairing.

Before becoming a U.S. attorney, Lampton ran twice as a Republican for the U.S. Congress. Both times he lost, and both times his races were financed largely by companies that Minor had successfully sued. Included among these companies were firms owned or operated by members of Lampton's family.

Here is background on the history between Paul Minor and Dunn Lampton, pulled from public documents:

* Leslie B. Lampton is director, CEO, and chairman of the board of Ergon Inc., a Mississippi corporation that was No. 180 on the Forbes list of 500 top private U.S. corporations for the year 2003. Leslie Lampton is a relative of Dunn Lampton, and those closely connected to Ergon include Lee C. Lampton, William W. Lampton, and Robert H. Lampton. All made contributions to Dunn Lampton's political campaigns.

* Paul Minor successfully sued Ergon and recovered, or was awarded damages on behalf of his clients, in the millions of dollars. In July 2002, as the investigation in the Minor case was heating up, Minor entered an appearance for plaintiffs in a case against Ergon and one of its subsidiaries, Magnolia Towing, and was successful in having the litigation transferred to Oklahoma, where the matter settled for millions of dollars.

* During his campaigns for Congress, Lampton received campaign contributions from current Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, then a professional lobbyist for Lorillard Tobacco Company. Lorillard is part of Loews Corporation, which owns 54 percent of Diamond Offshore Drilling. Diamond Offshore was the defendant in the Archie Marks case, in which Paul Minor represented the plaintiff.

* Lampton received a campaign contribution from Deloitte & Touche Federal PAC, an independent accounting firm that was employed by Diamond Offshore.

* Lampton received campaign contributions from Brown and Williamson Tobacco. Minor was a trial lawyer in lawsuits against tobacco companies and was awarded millions of dollars in attorney fees for his efforts in the litigation.

Think Lampton might salivate at the thought of Paul Minor being in prison? Think Lampton would uphold the public trust a prosecutor holds (as outlined here by Scott Horton of Harper's) in a case involving Paul Minor?

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