More on transcript of February 6 State Farm v. Hood hearing

I read through every single word of the transcript, and it was painful — painful because Jim Hood thoroughly beclowned himself.  Whether it was an intentional diversionary tactic or involuntary, I cannot say, but the persona Hood offered at the hearing was certainly no Albert Einstein — in fact, it was not even an Alfred Einstein.  After a time, I began to wonder if Hood’s act was some kind of misguided Jerry Lewis tribute — like this one — and I hesitantly turned the pages, expecting him to burst out with a  "Hey Laaaaady!"  

In the biggest laugh of the hearing, Hood claimed he sent the "Dickie Scruggs is my confidential informant" letter to U.S. Attorney Alice Walker, in July 2007, not as a favor to Scruggs but to protect the Rigsby sisters and the State Farm documents they took. Kerri and Cori Rigsby, you may recall, were and are being sued by State Farm contractor E.A. Renfroe for allegedly breaching their confidentiality agreements by taking thousands of claims documents and feeding them to Dickie Scruggs.

Hood seemed hopelessly out of his element talking about, well, just about anything you would expect him to know about, but especially the Renfroe v. Rigsby suit and surrounding issues.  It turns out that he did not even write the letter — his assistant AG Courtney Schloemer did —  and he claimed repeatedly to know little to nothing about the case, or about the order Judge William Acker issued requiring the sisters and their agents to return all copies of the documents to Renfroe’s attorneys (a protective order was also part of the order, which forbad the attorneys from sharing the contents of the documents with Renfroe itself or with State Farm).

Instead of returning them, Scruggs called Hood (Scruggs has testified to this), and they made an arrangement to send the docs to Hood in an effort to take advantage of the injunction’s law enforcement exception.  Now, there are three problems with this course of conduct.  One, Hood already had his own copies, so he didn’t need any more from Scruggs.  Two, the law enforcement exception in the injunction was so Hood wouldn’t have to return his own copies, not so he could become the public library for anyone with papers who wants to take it on the lam from the law (it was also so the Rigsbys could cooperate with Hood’s criminal investigation without violating the order).  Three, it torqued off Judge Acker, who by and by issued an order ripping Scruggs and referring him for prosecution for criminal contempt of court.     

Let’s look at one passage of the transcript, beginning on page 127, where Hood explains the letter to Martin:     

A. So Courtney sent the letters. Courtney was the one who was handling the Alabama litigation. I did send a letter. It was not at Mr. Scruggs’ request. I don’t recall him ever asking me to send that letter or anything of that nature.

I had a concern as a prosecutor.  And I knew Ms. Martin who as a prosecutor and has prosecuted a lot of white collar crime over in Alabama would also have a concern about litigation in another state that is designed to or the effect of harassing witnesses that we’re about to put in before the grand jury and disclosing those documents. That was primarily Courtney’s concern. It was my concern as well. And that’s why I wrote the letter.

Q. So you did it out of the kindness of your heart and your conscientiousness as the attorney general of the State of Mississippi.

A. Out of the kindness of my heart. I can tell you I have a duty to protect people as a prosecutor. If it’s a dope dealer that’s going to testify for me in a case, I have a duty to try to protect him as best I can. And that is the duty upon where I act. It’s not out of the kindness of my heart or any kind of comments like that. But it was just my duty I felt to protect witnesses and grand jury information.

Q. Which witnesses were you protecting?

A. The Rigsby sisters, the documents. See, we were about to cross-examine, your Honor, these witnesses that were State Farm’s people, employees. They were coming to our grand jury down in Jackson County. And this was all going on about three weeks before our grand jury. And so Courtney’s concern and my concern was they were going to give the documents to these witnesses so they’d know what we were going to ask them. And so that was our concern. And that’s what I conveyed in the letter to the United States Attorney, that that was where our concern was coming from. And it was because states have to get along and the state and federal systems both have to work together in prosecuting white collar crime cases.

Q. I’m still trying to get a simple answer to the simple question of which witnesses you were protecting.

A. I was trying to protect the — I thought I answered that, but I’ll try again — the two — the two confidential  informants, the documents themselves. Mr. Scruggs had provided us with a lot more information than — I don’t know. He had — it wasn’t just what those witnesses gave us. It was a lot of other information that he had discovered during discovery, depositions. Other lawyers were doing that as well. So I was trying to protect those three individuals as well as the documents and the integrity of my grand jury in Jackson County.

Q. And what jeopardy were the Rigsbys under?

A. Well, they are being sued over in state court by an independent contractor of State Farm. We felt like it was designed to intimidate our witnesses and make them turn over documents that they had already given to the federal government. They had filed a qui-tam suit which is protected, as I understand it, by the whistleblower protections under federal law and had given them to the state prosecutor in the state.

Crikey!  Reading this, it gives me the same feeling I had a few years ago when a woman from England told me the English navy was indisputably the greatest and most powerful in the world.  I didn’t really have any response.  What are you going to say to someone who said adios to reality about the time of Adm. Nelson?

I could compile a list of what is wrong with this passage, but why overdecorate the Christmas tree? You can see for yourself.  Just remember one thing — and here may want to take a closer look at the date at the top of the letter to Martin — about the events Hood is talking about, the Rigsbys testifying before the grand jury, the State Farm witnesses before the grand jury: All that happened six months before he wrote the letter to Martin! Not to mention it wasn’t Renfroe who referred Scruggs out for criminal prosecution, it was Judge Acker.  Does Hood mean to imply that Acker was shilling for Renfroe,or that Scruggs gets a pass whatever he does merely because he plays cards and shoots pool with Hood?

Let’s also remember that those documents Hood was seeking to protect by writing the letter to Martin, he had already returned Scruggs’ copy to Renfroe’s attorneys several months prior.       

And let us not forget that despite Hood’s repeated protestations of ignorance — he said he didn’t know what Acker’s injunction said, didn’t keep up on the pleadings in the Renfroe case, didn’t really know what was going on — he apparently felt well-qualified and sufficiently knowledgeable to send the letter to Martin.  The fact that Scruggs had just contributed $33,000 to his re-election campaign, he said, had absolutely nothing to do with his decision — didn’t even serve as an attention-getter.

Another curious aspect of Hood’s testimony is he portrayed himself far differently than he has throughout his career, especially when running for re-election last year.  Back then, he was the man in charge, the Alpha Law Dude, finger on the pulse, etc. etc.  Now, according to his testimony, it’s like Courtney Schloemer was the secret real AG and he was a sort of Chauncey Gardiner figure who makes vapid pronouncements that others, through the power of wishful thinking and self-interest, interpret as being full of meaning.  Check it out: 51 references to the word "Courtney" in the transcript, almost all from Hood.  Don’t ask me, Courtney did it.  I don’t know about that, you’ll have to ask Courtney.  I wasn’t in charge of that, Courtney was.  I didn’t eat any breakfast that day, Courtney never called and told me to.  Hood had to know this was a disastrous performance, didn’t he?  I mean, he couldn’t have done himself any more damage by wearing to court one of those "I’m with stupid" T-shirts with the arrow pointing up.  So what would have been his motive for painting a portrait of himself with the words "Out to Lunch" tattooed on his forehead?  Is he that worried about the current state of investigations in Mississippi that he’s going to claim either ignorance or ineffectiveness as a defense? 

Before making two final points, let’s compile a short list of other notable things about this hearing transcript:

  • First off, if you have not seen it, take a look at the State Farm amended complaint in State Farm v. Hood, paragraph 18.  This contains the agreement between Hood and State Farm that ended his criminal investigation of the insurer.  Hood claimed that the words "the investigation" could not have referred to allegations State Farm defrauded the federal government by processing wind damage as federally insured flood damage (for properties with flood insurance), and that he didn’t think of such allegations until April 2007.  Instead, Hood said, his investigation prior to the settlement dealt only with insurers’ failure to pay wind claims.  You may not need me to point this out, but this is the same thing!  Not to mention that you can watch this video of Hood testifying to Congress on February 28, 2007,  where Hood cited the implications for failure to pay wind damage as including that the federal flood insurance paid for damage it shouldn’t have (see approx. 7:10 of the video).  Note that February 28, 2007 is prior to April 2007.
  • Hood said he got the idea for filing his civil lawsuit against insurers, which he filed just two weeks after Katrina hit, from the sheriff of Jackson County.  No offense to the sheriff, but why isn’t Hood soliciting legal advice from other key sources like his barber, his dry cleaner and the guy at the burrito cart down the street? 
  • He admitted he circulated a draft of his civil lawsuit against insurers, filed just two weeks after Katrina hit, to a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers including Dickie Scruggs.  At this point, most Katrina claims had not yet been made, much less adjusted.  At the very least, this stinks.  Not saying that the two things are in any way tied together, but one can’t help but remember that this lawsuit was filed in Hinds County, the same county were Joey Langston has confessed that he tried to bribe a judge. 
  • Several people who read the transcript wondered why State Farm attorney Jim Robie didn’t try to pin Hood down more — he failed to answer many, many questions.  After reading the whole transcript, I have two answers: first, to the degree Robie tried to pin him down, Hood said he didn’t know and/or that Courtney did it, and second, Hood was destroying himself as it was, decimating his credibility and his own case like the Grim Reaper swathing down whole populations in the Black Death.  If this is not true, whatever could have possessed Hood’s lawyers to enter into a settlement just a few hours after he stepped off the stand, without even waiting for the next day’s testimony?
  • If you’re Courtney Schloemer, how do you like Hood laying everything off on you?  You gotta love a leader that stands behind you — way, way, way behind you, as you lead the charge into a machine gun nest. 
  • One Mississippi lawyer who is vehemently anti-State Farm told me, after reading the transcript, that the worst thing Hood and Scruggs have ever done is to make State Farm look like a victim. I don’t quite see it the same way, but the person makes a point.
  • In looking through Robie’s questions to Hood, I know the facts behind many of these questions, and so I know those questions weren’t tricks or phony. In light of that, and considering Robie’s reputation, I have to assume he had solid evidence to ask the question about whether Hood was approached by Tim Balducci and Steve Patterson, who have since pleaded guilty in the judicial bribery case.  The question was whether Scruggs sent the two to tell Hood that if he didn’t settle the criminal investigation of State Farm (State Farm had demanded that Scruggs’ 640 civil cases, Hood’s civil lawsuit, and the criminal investigation all be wrapped up at once), that Scruggs would fund an opponent to Hood in the primary election (see page 158).  Hood eventually denied it, but read the back-and-forth for yourself.  The theory behind this question, of course, is that Scruggs would exert such pressure because he wanted the cases to settle, in that Scruggs and the Scruggs Katrina Group stood to gain attorney fees of $26 million from the settlement.

Second to last, I want to talk about Hood’s answers about anti-concurrent cause language in insurance policies, one of my favorite subjects.  As I said in the last section of this article that appeared in New Appleman on Insurance: Critical Issues, Hood is completely, totally wrong about how anti-concurrent language works and how it was used by insurance companies in Katrina adjusting.  I cannot stress strongly enough that out of everything he has ever said about anti-concurrent cause language, not one single word I have heard or read has been correct. Not one. 

He again testified at length about anti-concurrent cause language in the hearing, and again, he got it all wrong.  Read the article above,  look at the transcript, and you will see that I am right. (I think the version of the article I linked to above was not in fact quite final, not the exact version that appeared in the publication, so it probably has a few typos still in it).

I was appalled at how proud Hood was that he negotiated language for State Farm’s proposed arbitration procedure that was to have been a part of the class action certification and settlement that never happened.  On page 169, he said he subtly inserted the phrase "During the reevaluation and arbitration process, State Farm will not assert as a ground for the total denial of a claim that water contributed to policyholder’s loss if wind damage occurred." 

When I read that, I actually felt sick to my stomach that he has fooled himself into believing he got one over on State Farm.  Hood, listen to me!  These people wrote that clause 25 years ago, they guard it like it’s the Holy Grail, they know what it means and what it doesn’t mean, they fought for it in the Fifth Circuit and won.  Why do you think they let that language go in, Hood?  That’s right, because what I have been saying for a year is true — Katrina damage did not involve concurrent or sequential causes of loss, as those terms are understood in this context, and State Farm knows it — they repeatedly admitted that very thing in depositions.  So congratulations, you got them to agree to their own interpretation of the policy and their own interpretation of the facts of Katrina damage!  The real point of controversy is the last part of the phrase — "if wind damage occurred."  You missed the whole point, Hood!  Who is to say whether wind damage occurred or not, and if it did, how much?  Right. Now you begin to see. This is kind of like someone sitting around smoking packs upon packs of Marlboros and thinking the biggest threat to their health is vampires.  

And really lastly, I want to address briefly the concerns I’ve heard about the settlement in this case being sealed.  How can this be, folks ask — Hood is a state official, he enters into an agreement, the people have the right to know what it is.  Yes, others say, but Judge Bramlette has jurisdiction over the case, he can seal the settlement if he wants to.  But here’s what I wonder about — unless he plans to memorize the settlement, Hood has to have it on file somewhere in state government.   Once it is there, is it not a public record that anyone can access? And how long is this supposed to be under seal, and why? Do you think in this secret settlement that Hood got the better of State Farm, just like he did with that "subtle" provision on the anti-concurrent cause language?

 

 

 

21 Comments

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21 Responses to More on transcript of February 6 State Farm v. Hood hearing

  1. shm

    Thanks so much for all of your hard work! That was so well written. I will laugh all day about “I’m with stupid shirt”

  2. duckhead

    It’s a little sad that the people in Mississippi following this case would be so misled if they did not have access other media.
    The Clarion Ledger covered the AP story that came out right after the Wednesday recess in Natchez.
    On first reading, you are led to believe that the Judge Bramlette ended the trial in Hood’s favor.
    “The case has been dismissed, that’s all I can say,” Hood told The Associated Press Wednesday.
    A State Farm spokesman called Hood’s announcement “premature” but said company officials were pleased with developments in a hearing earlier in the day.”
    There is no mention in the story about what really went on in Natchez.
    Thanks for keeping us informed as to whats really going on.
    All this is to say that Hood is probably a better politician than a lawyer.
    DH

  3. nomiss

    I’ve read Hood’s testimony several times.  During the first reading I was amazed at his testimony; during the second reading, I was amused.
    After mulling the testimony over in my head, it appears to me that immediately after Katrina, Scruggs potentially saw the insurance claims as an opportunity for his next tobacco-style suit. As I recall from Lee Harrell’s deposition, Scruggs told the Insurance Commissioner that he and Moore were going to model the insurance claims suit on the tobacco case. Except this time Scruggs would control all of the settlement money and disperse it himself as he saw fit. (I suppose that’s so those pesky lawyers who assisted couldn’t claim fees. Plus, as Mike Moore had done with the “Partnership,” Scruggs could be the big public hero with all his “positive public exposure” from doling out money to the claimants.)
    Scruggs would use his Attorney General to begin his case, and Hood pretty much did what Scruggs told him to do or just stayed out of the way and let Scruggs run the AG’s office in this matter. Except something went out of whack, and Hood wound up on the witness stand testifying about all of this.
    Hood’s testimony sounded to me as if he was on the stand trying to make up a story that would legally explain how this all started and progressed. He couldn’t just say, “Well, I just did what Scruggs told me to do, so I don’t have the dates or facts all straight. Heck, I don’t even know all of the dates or facts because I just left that all to them.”
    Thus Hood was pretty confused himself in trying to explain everything. He was “after the fact” attempting to fabricate a reliable story that, in the end, just didn’t fly.

  4. Carly

    Once again you have provide an excellent analysis of this convoluted mess.
    I believe part of the reason a settlement was reached so soon after Hood’s testimony was because of Courtney Schloemer pending testimony. Here’s a refresher for those with memory problems of Schloemer’s involment.
    Remember this?
    http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/205602-hood-aide-takes-aim-at-prominent-blogger
    Schloemer e-mailed LegalNewsline.com on Friday with a message for Rossmiller:
    “I don’t expect this will ever make it into print, but I would appreciate if you would pass along to Mr. Rossmiller that he would be hard-pressed to find a prosecutor anywhere who considers it an advantage to have a witness testify while on someone else’s payroll as a consultant. I had also spoken with the Scruggs Katrina Group and confirmed that Ford was not working for them at the time I interviewed him and they had no plans to hire him.”
    …and this?
    ttp://www.legalnewsline.com/news/205565-hood-wont-comment-on-state-farm-motion
    Excerpt:
    However, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on Wednesday refused to comment on statements made in a motion filed Tuesday by State Farm Insurance Cos. to disqualify every member of the former Scruggs Katrina Group from their Katrina cases.
    The company claims a member of Hood’s office discussed the effects a criminal conviction could have on State Farm with regards to a civil settlement with a private attorney representing civil claims against the company.
    Also, they claim the same Assistant Attorney General, Courtney Schloemer, wanted to prevent former engineer Brian Ford from being hired as a consultant with the SKG until he could testify in the criminal case.
    “It’s shocking beyond words,” said insurance attorney David Rossmiller, a partner at Dunn Carney in Portland, Ore., who has been analyzing the Gulf Coast’s insurance situation for Legal Newsline.
    “What’s detailed in the Brian Ford notes are two very, very shocking allegations: That the assistant attorney general was manipulating testimony before a grand jury and discussing using criminal prosecution to benefit one party’s civil litigation. It’s absolutely outstanding.”
    Nineteen pages of Ford’s journal were entered as an exhibit with State Farm’s motion. The company says Ford was paid “hefty sums” to perform consulting work for the SKG even though Ford, a former engineer at Forensic Analysis and Engineering Corp., was a material fact witness in another case.
    Scruggs offered Ford indemnity, a $10,000 monthly retainer and a percentage of each settlement work for the SKG to become a “fact witness” and “consultant” on a case, State Farm alleges.
    “(O)n June 25, 2007, (SKG attorney Derek) Wyatt again spoke to Ford, telling that while the SKG could not pay him as a ‘fact witness,’ it could pay him as a ‘consultant,’ ultimately prompting Ford to ask, ‘Do I need to move assets?'” the motion says.
    Ford’s journal contains an entry from Oct. 25, 2006. Part of it reads, “Courtney talked to Derek. They agree that a criminal conviction could help civil cases.”
    It also says, “Courtney does not want Brian to be a paid consultant prior to testifying before grand jury.”
    The State Farm motion portrays Hood’s office and Scruggs’ group working hand-in-hand against State Farm, one of five companies sued by Hood for allegedly misrepresenting the amount they owed to policyholders after Hurricane Katrina.
    State Farm has sued Hood for allegedly using the threat of a criminal investigation to force a civil settlement to which was previously agreed by the two sides but not approved by a federal judge.

  5. Thick

    Looks to me like poor old Courtney has become Hood’s whipping girl. First, he tells her no more blogging (basically to shut up) then he throws her under the bus during his testimony before Judge Bramlette.
    Also scattershooting while wondering about the whereabouts of the erstwhile Brian Martin. Remember Brian? Seems he was General Hoodwink’s biggest advocate, but he has apparently fallen victim to the duct tape over the mouth syndrome as well.

  6. nomiss

    It looks as if Hood assigned Courtney to the SKG department of the attorney general’s office.

  7. Miss Lawyer

    Fantastic update and insight. Thanks for your hardwork analyzing all these issues!

  8. Loved the “Stupid” Tshirt comment. Glad to see I was not alone in thinking his comments were ridiculous. From a claims standpoint, it is thoroughly disgusting to see how wrong his facts were regarding the claim specific issues. He alleged he hadn’t looked at the files, had the figures entirely wrong on the EA Renfroe assignment numbers (I’m sure some of the other adjusting firms such as Pilot, Eberls, and Worley were just thrilled to know Hood thinks that EA Renfroe got 85% of the work). Anyone involved in claims knows that not only did the main 4 primary firms they use get claims but many many other adjusting firms handled the Katrina losses for them as well. To be involved in such major litigation with a major carrier, you’d think he would of atleast had some clue about what was going on considering his allegations against their claim practies but he is clueless if his testimony is any indication. How sad that he could mislead the MS folks with damage when it’s obvious he knew the policies would not provide coverage in some instances.
    Is what is really disgusting is his allegations he didn’t think he was at the congressional hearings to testify about the claim file problems but didn’t he say it was over the “multi peril” coverage needed with 1 policy to cover wind and hail? Sure wasn’t the impression from listening to those hearngs was it? Any chance the committees can strike his previous committee testimony? (Smile)
    You have to love the judge’s question in the hearing about how Hood thought he could override policy contract language…..simply amazing.
    Thanks again for posting the link so we could see Hood for what he is…and that isn’t a favorable comment!

  9. Ironic

    It’s incredible to me that Hood is quoted in his depo as saying the yellow sticky note said, “Do not pay claim”.
    All us bystanders in the world of blogging know better, and know the stickie note actually said, “Do not pay bill”, possibly referring to the engineer’s bill due to the inaccurate report.
    Big, big difference. This shows Hood’s bias. He see’s what he wants to see.
    This would be funny, except Mr. Hood hauled people in front of his secret grand jury and charged a co with criminal conduct.
    How can two people, Hood and Scruggs, get so much power to unethically and illegally shake down these companies for their own personal gain?
    Ironic

  10. MAIN STREET

    David always always a great job. I see you left out the question SF ask General Hood if he had received a TARGET LETTER, and he replied “if I have received a letter from Target Courtney hasn’t told me, all I’ve seen is the Walmart circulars….I jest..

  11. drake826

    Yes, NOMISS, it does seem that Hood assigned this case to Courtney — I think that’s why he said to talk to her.
    In any case, Researcher posted [http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/oklahoma_1999.php] a link to CJR over at folo dot us. To wit:
    Before we turn the page on the deadly tornadoes in the south that killed fifty-seven this week, according to the latest count, it’s worth reminding business reporters and editors of a now-forgotten string of tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May 1999. Those tornadoes including one that unleashed 318 mph winds, the highest ever recorded killed forty-eight, triggered 52,000 insurance claims, and caused $450 million in property damage.
    In May 2006, seven years later, a jury in Grady County levied a $13 million judgment against a unit of State Farm Insurance Co., including $10 million in punitive damages, finding that the insurer â€

  12. nomiss

    To clarify my previous comment, it appears that Hood established a separate department in the attorney general’s office—say, the “SKG department,” alias the State Farm claims investigation/suit department. Hood assigned Courtney S. to run that department, but the real boss was Scruggs.
    Therefore, Hood really didn’t know the answers to Robie’s questions since Courtney runs that “SKG department.” Maybe Hood knew “in general” what Courtney was doing, but not the everyday details (as he testified) since Courtney had free rein to work for Scruggs without checking with Hood.
    Just trying to make sense of this. I’m trying to understand how such a high profile crackerjack prosecuting attorney could flub his testimony as he did.

  13. also a lawyer

    NoMiss, we got it. It just went over Drake’s head…

  14. EyeOnHood

    Genius Rossmiller! Hood looked like a ridiculous idiot for one reason, he is. That the people of MS were so foolish as to re-elect him is really pathetic. Good luck Courtney in your search for a new job. You’d be better off unemployed than in jail where so many of Hood’s friends, are going to end up.

  15. MORE COWBELL

    Someone help me remember: what crime did Courtney commit?

  16. drake826

    No, it’s gone right over all y’all’s heads. Do you think Hood is a little country lawyer with a few paralegals hanging around? NO! Man, he’s got attorneys that he can assign cases to. He oversees everything but he’s not in the middle of everything. Gosh it’s like you’re crucifying because he is not the son of Jesus.

  17. injustice for all

    Yes poor ole State Farm. They are laughing all the way to the bank. It is was not for big oil, they would be the most profitable company in history of the world.
    The 7 to 10 adjusters, bogus and changed reports and less than 120 miles winds but 40 foot surge as they allege are all just figments of our imagination.

  18. Mac

    So the top law enforcer in MS gives the run of his office to a man who said “What I call the “magic jurisdic-tion,” . . . [is] where the judiciary is elected with verdict money. The trial lawyers have established relationships with the judges that are elected; they’re State Court judges; they’re popul[ists]. They’ve got large populations of voters who are in on the deal, they’re getting their [piece] in many cases. And so, it’s a political force in their jurisdiction, and it’s almost impossible to get a fair trial if you’re a defendant in some of these places. The plaintiff lawyer walks in there and writes the number on the blackboard, and the first juror meets the last one coming out the door with that amount of money. . . . The cases are not won in the courtroom. They’re won on the back roads long before the case goes to trial. Any lawyer fresh out of law school can walk in there and win the case, so it doesn’t matter what the evidence or the law is.” Okay, he sounds like a trustworthy officer of the court; a political contributor Hood can be proud of; a man who wouldn’t think of bribing a judge or even think about making an ex parte communication….

  19. MORE COWBELL

    Zack’s attorney, Todd Graves, former US Attorney, has filed an interesting motion to sever. He cites the 3 instances that Greenlee is is using to tie Zack to the conspiracy “to pay the sweet potatoes.”

  20. EyeonHood

    Courtney is not accused of a crime…at least not yet. However, after reading or hearing Jim Hood’s testimony, I don’t know why she would want to work for him any longer. In my opinion, the reason this case settled so soon after Hood’s testimony is that Courtney’s testimony was next and she wasn’t going to back the load of BS Jim Hood put on her shoulders.He blabbered on so much in his testimony I’m sure his attorney’s were sweating bullets about what he might say next or who he might implicate next. If Hood has “clean hands” as he claims and this lawsuit was not initiated as a strong-arm tactic for his buddy Scruggs, then why is the settlement confidential. I’ll be watching very closely to see how much of the $5 million paid by State Farm makes it to the State’s General Fund. I bet less than 50%.

  21. WiSam

    Reading the transcript, I kept thinking of 3 things. Sammy Davis Jr., Leo Sayer and Daffy Duck. I’ll try to explain…Sammy Davis Jr. was one of the best tap dancers ever, and at times during Hood’s testimony I swear he could have kept up with every step Sammy ever made. To continue with the dancing analogy, Leo Sayer had a song called “I Can Dance”, where he bragged about really being able to move.
    As to Daffy Duck, remember the one where he was Robin Hood? He had his trusty quarter staff (actually it was a buck and a quarter, quarter staff), and while he was dodging, thrusting & parrying, Porky Pig was able to use a straw to disarm Daffy. Throughout all of Hood’s dodging, thrusting and parrying, he was unable to avoid the pitfalls & traps being carefully laid for him.
    I cannot imagine being the one on the stand trying to cover my butt after the fact as Hood really appears to have been doing. What a mess…no wonder a settlement was reached. Like many others, I would love to know what it says. As always, great coverage Mr. Rossmiller.