UPDATE: Diaz, wife suing ex-US Attorney Lampton

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

The last time they faced off in a legal battle, Dunn Lampton was a U.S. attorney and Oliver Diaz was a Mississippi Supreme Court justice accused of bribery and tax evasion.

Now both men are out of office, and Diaz, who was acquitted of the corruption charges, and his wife are suing Lampton for allegedly conspiring to ruin their lives.

Oliver and Jennifer Diaz were indicted in 2003 along with prominent Gulf Coast attorney Paul Minor and two former lower court judges on federal bribery allegations. Oliver Diaz was cleared of the bribery charges in 2005. Minor and the other judges are in prison.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Oliver Diaz was subsequently acquitted of federal tax evasion charges in 2006. Jennifer Diaz struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

Now, in a complex lawsuit complete with claims and counter claims in two different courts, Jennifer Diaz alleges Lampton conspired with his cousin, Leslie Lampton, to illegally access their tax records in an attempt to force Oliver Diaz off the bench. Leslie Lampton was on the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance at the time.

Dunn and Leslie Lampton called the allegations unfounded in court records. Messages left Wednesday on Dunn Lampton’s cell phone and at his attorney’s office were not immediately returned.

Oliver Diaz has long said he was the target of a politically charged investigation by Lampton’s office because he defeated a friend of Lampton’s who was also a candidate for the Supreme Court seat.

The civil lawsuit began in January, when Jennifer Diaz’s lawyer, former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae, threatened to sue Leslie Lampton for allegedly using “her private records to bring charges against her husband in order to get him removed from office and destroy their family life.”

Leslie Lampton filed a complaint in Madison County Circuit Court, calling subpoenas and other legal action by Jennifer Diaz a “conspiracy theory fishing expedition.”

Leslie Lampton asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit because he had immunity as a member of the Commission for Judicial Performance. He said he had only a limited role in the Diaz investigation and had recused himself from it.

Jennifer and Oliver Diaz countersued in May and named Dunn Lampton in the lawsuit, saying he conspired to bring libelous charges against her husband.

Dunn Lampton filed a motion June 3 in U.S. District Court to have a federal judge take over the case, which was unsealed this week in federal court.