By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Indicted FBI agent Hal Neilson of Oxford has a new arraignment date, Feb. 1.
Neilson, 49, was indicted Jan. 13 by a federal grand jury and accused on five counts of filing false statements and lying about his financial interests in the Oxford FBI Building.
An arraignment is a court hearing where a defendant enters a plea to the charges against him. Last week, the hearing was set for Jan. 26 by the Middle Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is handling the prosecution.
The Oxford U.S. Attorney’s Office apparently withdrew or “recused” itself in the case, likely because Neilson has repeatedly complained to the FBI about its alleged wrongdoing in various criminal cases.
Neilson also asked for whistleblower status, which would protect him against employment retaliation. It’s not known publicly what the FBI decided to do about his request on the allegations against the Oxford office.
Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander will preside over his arraignment. U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock has been assigned the case.
If found guilty on all counts, Neilson faces up to 25 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.