Prosecutors seek curb on Neilson's defense

OXFORD – FBI agent Hal Neilson’s federal prosecutors don’t want his jury to hear defense statements about why they’re from Louisiana, not Mississippi.
They also want to bar any arguments or evidence that might suggest their case was motivated by a personal vendetta by now-retired Jim Greenlee, who was U.S. attorney when Neilson was indicted.
Their statements came Monday in motions filed with the U.S. District Court in Oxford. Judge Sharion Aycock presides over the case.
Neilson of Oxford was indicted in January on accusations that he lied about his financial interests in the building, which houses the FBI on Oxford’s east University Avenue. He insists he is innocent.
He also claims a feud with Greenlee stretches back to 2004 when Neilson questioned Greenlee’s initiation of investigations into scores of the region’s residents with Middle Eastern surnames.
Greenlee has declined to make any statements about the allegations.
Neilson is scheduled for trial Nov. 8 in Aberdeen.
The case will be prosecuted by lawyers from the Middle Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office, which got the case after the Northern District in Oxford withdrew because of conflicts of interest.
Rene I. Salomon and Richard L. Bourgeois Jr. from Middle Louisiana were appointed special attorneys for the trial.
“The circumstances surrounding that appointment are not relevant and should not be presented to the jury,” they wrote in their motion to the court.
They say that if Neilson wants to claim he was improperly selected for prosecution, he should take it up with the court, not the jury.
Also, they ask Aycock to bar any mention or evidence by Neilson’s attorney, Christi R. McCoy of Oxford, that he is being selectively prosecuted.
The court should consider that issue before trial, they insist.

PATSY BRUMFIELD / NEMS Daily Journal