By Cheryl Lasseter
Attorney General Jim Hood called the media together Wednesday to express his disappointment with Republican legislators for killing a bill that would have allowed his office to wiretap. "We offered a bill that was clear, had protections in it," he says. "What do they got to hide? If it's OK to (wiretap) a dope dealer, why not some white collar criminals?"
Hood says if he had wiretapping authority, it would be easier to prosecute judicial bribery cases. Ironically, he's been fielding questions all week about why he won't seek charges in a judicial bribery case. Trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs has been indicted on allegations he bribed a judge. Attorney Joey Langston has pleaded guilty to bribing a judge. Both Scruggs and Langston contributed to Hood's campaign through a Political Action Committee.
General Hood told us last week that pursuing charges against the two would give the impression of impropriety. If there's a conflict of interest, we asked Hood Wednesday, why won't he hire independent counsel to handle the matter?
"(District attorneys) handle prosecutions in their districts," he says. Those DA's are the primary source of prosecutions. The AG's come in and assist them at their request, but it's not our primary responsibility.
"There's no statutory authority for any kind of special prosecutor," he says. "We don't need it, the Federal Government is doing a fine job, I'm satisfied with the job they're doing. The FBI has all the assets in the world, they have the tools like wiretapping ability that we are asking for here."