Counsel demands sealed documents in Hinds DA investigation

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Jim Waide, Tupelo attorney

Waide & Associates

Jim Waide, Tupelo attorney

JACKSON – Tupelo defense attorney Jim Waide wants access to sealed documents and sealed transcripts of proceedings against his new client, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith.

In new motions filed in Hinds Circuit Court and Hinds County Court, Waide demands documents sealed against public access and documents he says Smith insists may be helpful in his defense against criminal charges filed June 22 by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Waide’s motion also reveals that Ridgeland attorney Amy Whitten is acting as special master in the case. She has a history of similar service, as a substitute judge, for Hinds Circuit Judge Tomie Green on other cases.

Smith is accused on six counts that he assisted criminal defendants, which is a violation of state law.

The charges were filed in Hinds County Justice Court by AG investigator Leland McDivitt.

Smith has yet to respond publicly to the charges, although surrogates insist he is innocent and the victim of some kind of witch hunt by the Attorney General’s Office, specifically by Assistant Attorney General Stan Alexander, who failed in his 2015 bid to unseat Smith for a third term as district attorney.

“Smith believes that the sealed transcripts contain evidence which is favorable to him,” states Waide’s motion filed Wednesday, the same day Waide filed notice he is representing Smith.

Waide asks for sealed transcripts of an April 4 hearing about the Attorney General’s investigation of Smith, a June 21 hearing where Smith-related subpoenas were suppressed on the Attorney General’s request and an undated hearing before Whitten about a subpoena suppressed by Smith.

Waide declined public comment on his representation of Smith and referred questions to the newly filed documents.

In a separate filing in Hinds County Court, Waide asks the Attorney General’s Office for “all discovery,” which is information gathered by the ongoing investigation, as well as names and addresses of all the state’s witnesses, written statements by them, expert reports and the substances of oral statements from witnesses.

The attorney also wants the Attorney General’s Office to provide sealed court records about Smith, copies of all emails and other correspondence about Smith, copies of emails and correspondence with any Hinds County judge about Smith and all affidavits presented by the Attorney General’s Office to Circuit Judge Jeff Weill Sr., who on June 23 issued an administrative order for the “immediate temporary disqualification” of Smith as district attorney and all sealed transcripts of hearings before Weill.

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