Prosecutors ask clarity on Garner case testimony

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oxford asked a federal judge to reconsider an FBI investigator’s testimony in the bribery-kickback trial of two north Mississippi businessmen.
Last week, Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. issued an order acquitting defendant Lee Garner of Batesville, saying prosecutors failed to prove he did anything wrong and that investigator Shannon Wright lied to the grand jury about him.
In its six-page motion “to clarify,” the government tells the judge it believes he may have inadvertently confused prosecution witness David Chandler’s grand jury testimony with Wright’s.
Chandler was Panola County administrator and admitted to embezzlement and fraud charges before Garner and Tupelo health care executive Ray Shoemaker went to trial last spring.
Defense attorneys repeatedly characterized Chandler as a liar and a cheat.
Biggers’ order of acquittal for Garner stated that trial testimony showed Garner did not pad his invoices for hospital nursing services so that he could pay Chandler to expedite their payment – information the grand jury was told before it indicted Garner and Shoemaker.
It was Chandler who told that story, Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Dabbs wrote to Biggers.
Biggers also acquitted Shoemaker on two counts, granted him a new trial on a third but retained his convictions on seven other counts associated with dealings at Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville, where Shoemaker was a top executive.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com