OXFORD – FBI Agent Hal Neilson of Oxford is expected to hear federal charges against him next week, although details were not yet finalized Friday.
Neilson, 49, was indicted Wednesday on five counts of wrongdoing surrounding his part ownership of the FBI’s Oxford office building and his alleged failure to report his financial connections to it.
U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock and Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander are assigned to the case. Also not public yet are which one of them will preside at his arraignment, and where it will be.
Arraignments are initial hearings where formal charges are read, and the defendant enters a plea. Bond also can be set to release the person as he or she awaits trial.
If convicted on all counts, Neilson faces up to 25 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine.
His attorneys, James Tucker of Jackson and Ken Coghlan of Oxford, were not available for comment Friday.
Neilson’s indictment was announced Thursday by Middle Louisiana U.S. Attorney David Dugas, whose office will handle the prosecution because the North Mississippi U.S. Attorney’s Office withdrew from that role.
No one at the Oxford office will explain why it’s withdrawn from the case, and Louisiana spokesman Lyman Thornton did not return a Daily Journal phone call to answer this question and others.
Neilson was supervisory senior resident agent in charge of the Oxford FBI from about 1998 to mid-2008. During that time, he complained to federal officials about alleged wrongdoing in the Oxford U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He also asked for legal shelter under the Whistleblower Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1989 to shield federal employees who allege wrongdoing by their employers.
Whether the FBI acted upon his request, made several years ago, wasn’t known Friday.
Neilson was working in Washington, D.C., on Thursday when he learned of his indictment. He was transferred there recently.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal