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A Fire in Mississippi (Connected to the Siegelman Persecution/Prosecution) [View All]

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ck4829 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-16-08 08:27 AM
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A Fire in Mississippi (Connected to the Siegelman Persecution/Prosecution)
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In the early morning of Sept. 15, 2003, the Biloxi, Mississippi office of another of the defendants in the Paul Minor case, former Mississippi judge John Whitfield, was set on fire.

At approximately 3:30 am, Whitfield's secretary, Michele Herman, was awakened by a call from the fire alarm company informing her that the office was ablaze. Herman was the first of Whitfield's associates to arrive at the scene. Her boss and other colleagues joined her soon after.

Herman described what happened after she arrived.

"I rushed to the office to watch the fire department put the fire out. It was contained to my office because we close doors between offices when we leave," Herman wrote in an email. "Just about everything I had was destroyed -- over 20 years worth of my research and books and photos and paintings and such."

According to Herman's recollection, local authorities announced that same day that they intended to confiscate files and documents that had survived the blaze. Whitfield's lawyer, Mike Crosby strongly objected to this, since he was concerned that privileged information -- including Whitfield's defense file and the case files of his clients -- would fall into the hands of the FBI and the ATF and be used against Whitfield in his upcoming trial.

In a letter obtained by RAW STORY, dated Sept. 19, 2003, Crosby wrote to the judge overseeing the seizure of files and hard drives to register his strenuous objections. The files and disks contained information that was critical to the operation of Whitfield's law practice as well as his defense file for the Diaz/Minor case. Crosby explained that he'd offered to make copies of all the materials for the investigators, if only he could have the originals back. The authorities refused. (See attached letter.)

"No one has ever been charged with the crime, as far as we know," Herman added. "They dropped it after they investigated John -- he was their suspect, you know. Only problem was, he didn't own the building, had nothing to gain -- no motive for destroying the building."

Article I found:
Whitfield's office burns
Ex-judge hires investigator, who calls blaze arson

Investigators search for evidence at the law office of former Coast Circuit Judge John Whitfield in Biloxi on Monday morning. Whitfield's lawyer says arson is suspected.

An early morning fire at former Judge John Whitfield's law office may have destroyed some documents he was preparing to use in his defense of federal fraud and bribery charges, his lawyer said.

Authorities said the fire remains under investigation, but a private fire investigator hired by Whitfield concluded it was arson.

Biloxi police officers were called to the former Circuit Court judge's Lameuse Street office shortly before 4 a.m. Monday after the office burglar alarm went off. Officers found flames coming out a door. Only one room in the house-turned-office was damaged by the fire.

Article I found:
Lab Results Point To Arson In Fire At Indicted Former Judge's Office

A fire that broke out last week at the Biloxi office of indicted former judge John Whitfield was arson, Biloxi Fire Chief David Roberts said Tuesday. Roberts said charred samples sent to a laboratory last week came back positive for accelerants.

"We are classifying it as an arson and it will be turned over to the police department detectives' unit for investigation,'' Roberts said.

Last Monday's blaze started in a secretary's office. One room was destroyed and parts of the office had soot and water damage. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire.

Crosby has said that Whitfield's office is "mission control'' for his defense of the federal case and for another lawsuit that Whitfield has filed against the Grand Casino Biloxi. Thousands of documents and computer files were stored in the office, but Crosby said the fire would not affect their case preparation.

Arson is a very serious offense, I hope the authorities are hot on the trail of whoever did this (And broke into the homes and offices of Siegelman, Minor, Siegelman's attorney, etc.), maybe it's time for an update from the authorities and see what they're up to.
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