ABERDEEN – William T. “Tommy” Tacker II’s trial attorneys Thursday asked a senior federal judge either to acquit their convicted client or order a new trial on charges he perpetrated a $2.8 million fraud in a biofuels subsidy program.
In February, a jury convicted Tacker of defrauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Recently, Senior U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson sentenced him to 60 months in prison on each of the 10 counts. The terms were ordered to run at the same time. He also was ordered to repay the money to USDA.
Tacker’s trial attorneys, Chip Davis and Rhett Wise of Tupelo, filed two motions asking that Davidson:
n Vacate the jury verdict and enter one of not guilty.
n Order a new trial because hearsay testimony was admitted by the government.
Tacker of Okolona built a facility in Nettleton to refine soybean oil into biodiesel, but it went bankrupt in 2006. Max Speight, then a Tennessee attorney, was his chief partner.
Speight was indicted with Tacker in the alleged USDA fraud, but just before trial, he cut a deal with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to just one count and then testified against Tacker.
Not a credible witness
Davis and Wise say Speight was not a credible witness against Tacker because of his “pattern habit and practice of lying, cheating and stealing to benefit himself.”
Speight was disbarred after he pleaded guilty and served state prison time for stealing $1 million from clients. Tacker has insisted that Speight took the USDA money.
“No reasonable juror could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Tacker participated in Speight’s scheme to defraud the government,” one motion said.
They also argue that Speight’s testimony about what a Tacker lady-friend told him during “pillow talk” should not have been allowed over their objection.
Tacker has been in federal custody since his sentencing a few weeks ago.
If these motions fail, he has hired former Mississippi Supreme Court justices Oliver Diaz and Chuck McRae of Jackson to handle additional appeals.
Patsy Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal