By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
ABERDEEN – Former Okolona entrepreneur Tommy Tacker asks the U.S. District Court to throw out his 2010 fraud conviction surrounding his biofuels plant’s finances.
Tacker, 59, is serving a 60-month sentence in a Montgomery, Ala., federal facility.
He says he is not guilty of the charges and blames his trial lawyers – Chip Davis and Rhett Wise of Tupelo – for serious errors and omissions amounting to ineffective counsel.
Davis and Wise said Tuesday they are “disappointed” with the motion, “especially since it is based upon patently false allegations.”
Tacker filed his motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence Monday. Senior District Judge Glen H. Davidson presides over the civil action.
Davidson also was Tacker’s trial judge.
Tacker was found guilty on 10 charges surrounding federal loans to finance construction and operations at BioDiesel of Mississippi Inc. in Nettleton, which reportedly aimed to make fuel from soybean oil.
He claims Davis and Wise:
• Failed to review thousands of documents the government planned to use against him.
• Did not interview or call to testify eight people defrauded by the government’s chief witness against him, H. Max Speight, a disbarred Tennessee lawyer who was BioDiesel’s financial manager.
• Ignored Tacker’s mental disorder known as acalculia, which renders someone unable to perform basic math-related tasks.
• Missed contradictory data by the government about how much soybean oil BioDieselpurchased and the resulting fuel produced, even though Wise represented a BioDiesel creditor when it went into bankruptcy.
“These assertions are supported by the transcript of the trial, which shows that his attorneys offered little evidence in Mr. Tacker’s defense,” said the nine-page motion plus exhibits filed by his appeals attorneys, Oliver Diaz and David McCarty of Jackson.
In an email, Davis and Wise added, “We find it extremely telling that these allegations have just now been raised. We would only add that we worked extremely hard to defend Mr. Tacker and our investigation of the facts, witnesses and evidence was thorough.”
Tacker’s appeals team states that with a proper defense, sufficient doubt could have been raised with a jury to prevent their client’s conviction.