Judge declines to dismiss charges against Minor, others

Published 7:35 pm Friday, March 16, 2007

U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate refused Thursday to dismiss multiple charges against Gulf Coast attorney Paul S. Minor and two former judges.

Wingate has not ruled on a separate defense motion to dismiss specific bribery counts against Minor, former Circuit Judge John Whitfield and former Chancery Judge Wes Teel.

Minor’s attorney Brad Pigott and attorneys for former Circuit Judge John Whitfield and former Chancery Judge Wes Teel argued the government had not proven the allegations in its indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Morgan argued prosecutors showed that Minor loaned the judges money and made payments on those loans in exchange for favorable rulings.

All have denied the allegations.

Wingate has not ruled on defense motions to dismiss two charges against Minor and one each against Whitfield and Teel. Those charges center on the giving or accepting of bribes involving an agent of a state government branch that received more than $10,000 from federal programs.

Defense attorneys argue that Teel and Whitfield did not qualify as such agents, but prosecutors say they met the criteria.

The government wrapped up its case Wednesday. Defense attorneys are scheduled to begin presenting their cases Monday.