UPDATE: Tacker's attorneys ask for acquittal or new trial

ABERDEEN – William T. “Tommy” Tacker II’s trial attorneys asked a federal judge Thursday either to acquit him or give him a new trial on charges he defrauded the USDA of $2.8 million.

Last February, a jury convicted him on 10 counts of defrauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture out of $2.8 million in a biofuels subsidy program.

Tacker built a biodiesel refinery in Nettleton to make the fuel from soybean oil, but it went bankrupt in 2006.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson recently sentenced the Okolona man to 60 months in prison on each count, to run at the same time, and to repay the government the $2.8 million.

His co-defendant, disbarred Tennessee attorney H. Max Speight, avoided trial and cut a deal with prosecutors by pleading guilty to one of the counts. He was the government’s key witness in Tacker’s trial.

Speight has not been sentenced.

Filing the new motions are Tupelo attorneys Chip Davis and Rhett Wise.

For additional appeals, if they’re needed, Tacker has hired new attorneys, former Mississippi Supreme Court justices Oliver Diaz and Chuck McRae.

• Read Saturday’s Daily Journal for details.

Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal