U.S. attorney report could boost Neilson defense

ABERDEEN – Hal Neilson’s attorneys may have fresh powder for his defense with a look at documents related to former U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee.
Neilson, 49, of Oxford is accused in a five-count federal indictment that he lied about his financial interests in the Oxford building where he was top FBI agent.
Monday, prosecutors continued to bring witnesses to testify about numerous documents and Neilson signatures attesting to his participation in a search process for a new building.
But midway through the day, defense attorney Ronald Michael of Booneville asked that his side be allowed to see government documents refered to in earlier testimony by Susan Howell, an investigator for the U.S. Inspector General’s Office.
Howell had said that she began to look into the Oxford building process after receiving information from Greenlee, the U.S. attorney at the time. He has declined to comment on the case.
While the prosecution team – Rene Salomon and Richard Bourgeois Jr. – seemed to dismiss defense interest in the documents, Judge Sharion Aycock ordered them found over the lunch break.
The men returned with a report-looking sheath of papers, which Aycock examined for more than 20 minutes. Then she spoke in private with the attorneys for another 10 minutes, without making any public pronouncements.
But defense attorneys looked pleased with the result while Salomon was red-faced.
Neilson contends that his legal troubles arise from a feud with Greenlee and that he is the victim of “selective prosecution.”
Recently, Aycock ruled that the defense cannot mention anything about the bad-blood with Greenlee. It was unclear late Monday how or if the new document may affect defense strategy.
Monday was the trial’s fifth day, and Aycock is pushing hard for it to end this week.
Monday, the government’s witnesses included members of two site selection teams that looked at Oxford property for the new FBI headquarters. Each said Neilson was wrong in a recorded interview when he said the process was “secretive” and he didn’t recall signing any documents.
But most of these witnesses said they couldn’t recall some details because the process was nearly seven years ago.
Former Jackson FBI top agent William Jenkins, the day’s final witness, said he didn’t know Neilson had one-third ownership of the building, had never given him permission to do so and didn’t know anyone else who had.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

PATSY BRUMFIELD / NEMS Daily Journal