Thursday, June 30, 2016

D.A. tells DJP former employee can't testify in civil suit.

Downtown Jackson Partners filed a motion to compel Linda Brune's deposition yesterday in the County Court of Madison County.  DJP sued Ms. Brune for the recovery of $40,439 she allegedly embezzled while working as a secretary.  District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith told DJP that Ms. Brune could not testify because she was a "victim" in the criminal case his office is prosecuting against Ben Allen.

Downtown Jackson Partners sued Linda Brune on December 10, 2014 in Madison County Court for allegedly embezzling $40,439.  The lawsuit also states she was "terminated on July 25, 2014 for sharing confidential corporate information with a reporter from the Clarion-Ledger."   Ms. Brune is a resident of Madison County.

The complaint states that Ms. Brune worked as DJP's administrative assistant for several years prior to her termination.  She was allowed to "fill out" checks but did not have signature authority.  DJP alleges that she "embezzled 38 check instruments representing a total sum of $40,439" by making checks payable to herself and "forging Mr. Allen's signature on each of the checks." She would then allegedly alter the payee's name on the bank statements by "whiting out" (no racism intended)  her name and replacing it with the name of a vendor. She would then allegedly copy the altered statement so evidence of the whiteout would not appear.  The complaint charges her with several counts of fraud, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment.  DJP asked for damages and attorney's fees.  Attorney Sam Begley represents DJP.

Ms. Brune filed her answer on January 12, 2015.   It contains the standard denials one usually sees in an answer to a complaint.  She accused DJP of filing the lawsuit in Madison County due to unfavorable publicity in Hinds County.   She argues that any funds withdrawn from DJP accounts were delivered directly to Mr. Allen.  She claims she was "loyal to a fault" and doesn't have the money to "reimburse his slush fund." Earlier post.

The District Attorney sent this letter to DJP attorney Sam Begley on May 23, 2016:

The State of Mississippi represents Ms. Linda Brune as a victim In the criminal case of State of Mississippi versus Benjamin Wade Allen. She will not be available for depositions or any other matter related to the civil dispute in the above-referenced until she has retained counsel to respond to numerous requests by DJP. Further, she has advised that she will request the Court to hold any civil matter in abeyance until the disposition of the criminal matter. Further, she has received correspondence requesting that she waive her right to a trial by jury. She vehemently opposes to waiving her rightto a trial by jury, or any other rights.

If you have anything further regarding this matter, please direct your correspondence to our office. Her new counsel with be in touch with you in the very near future. Thank you.

DJP attached that letter as an exhibit to the motion filed yesterday.  DJP accuses the District Attorney of acting as Ms. Brune's private attorney in a civil matter in a county outside of his jurisdiction.  The motion very succinctly states:

The Plaintiffs are seeking to take the deposition of the Defendant Linda Brune, and to have her produce documents at her deposition. Recently, counsel for the Plaintiffs received a letter, a copy of which is attached as an exhibit, from Robert Shuler Smith, Esq., in which he claims to be acting as Ms. Brune’s attorney. Mr. Smith is the District Attorney for the Seventh Circuit Court District (Hinds County). Mr. Smith’s letter states that Ms. Brune “will not be available for depositions or any other matter related to the civil dispute in the above referenced [ Downtown Jackson Partners v. Linda Brune] until she has retained counsel to respond to numerous requests by DJP.” Mr. Smith further states that Ms.Brune “ will request the Court to hold any civil matter in abeyance until the disposition of the criminal matter.”Notably, the Court Administrator has scheduled a jury trial in this case to begin on December 5, 2016. No attorney has entered an appearance as Ms. Brune’s counsel.

The motion asks the court to order Ms. Brune to submit to a deposition.  The case is assigned to Judge Will Longwitz.  Ms. Brune is currently not represented by an attorney in this case.

Kingfish note: It should be pointed out that Jerry Mitchell has never reported this lawsuit on the pages of the Clarion-Ledger even though the newspaper published his story about Ms. Brune's charges against Ben Allen on the front page of the Sunday edition in 2014 and several follow-up stories. 


Anonymous said...

This is a head scratcher. RSS representing Brune? Ordering a lawsuit in another county to "cease and desist"? Obstruction of justice??

Anonymous said...

Did I read that this lady was No Billed by a Hinds County Grand Jury? Didn't Trustmark Bank and JPD decline to pursue any type of prosecution against her? RSS stated that the former employee is represented by him "as a victim." Not as her attorney. Does DJP think they can redirect the focus of the real wrongdoing from the perp? I'm scratching my head too. Sounds like they are harassing the lady.

Anonymous said...

That Fax Cover Sheet needs to be updated. And quickly.

Kingfish said...

That is the curious part. She was no-billed yet the D.A. did not include her name on the public lists that are filed at the Circuit Clerk's office.

I'm also sure you thought the civil lawsuit against O.J. was "harassment".

Anonymous said...

DJP sure is spending a heap of dinero chasing this allegedly small potatoes embezzler. Hmmmm ... wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Haven't thought about O.J. in years. I'm just puzzled as to why DJP continues to file charges against her when they have been dismissed. Are they trying to find a county that will validate their b.s.? You can twist and turn this any way you want but the results will be the same. As for your reference to O.J.'s civil suit, are they going to file murder charges against her too in hopes it will help them?

Anonymous said...

RSS is an IDIOT. He does NOT represent the victim. He represents the State of Mississippi. He needs to step down immediately as he is completely unfit.

Kingfish said...

Twist? You're the one twisting. This is a civil case, not "charges" as you put it. She lives in Madison County. She is the defendant. That is where the suit is.

Criminal complaints and civil suits against the same defendant are filed all the time and can progress without the other.

Anonymous said...

If she were a criminal DEFENDANT and not an alleged victim (and she's not even the victim; to the extent there is a victim in the case against Ben Allen it would be DJP), she could ask for a stay of the civil case until the criminal case was concluded which might or might not be granted. But RSS has completely lost it at this point. Someone needs to get his ass in rehab.

Anonymous said...

Linda Brune is clearly posting to herself again. 8:22, 8:40 and 8:48. Back to back to back. Expect more.

Anonymous said...

8:58 Nothing indicates that RSS is representing her. In one sentence, she has no attorney and next RSS is representing her. Last I heard, he represents Hinds County. Still scratching my head.....

Anonymous said...

Wish I were an attorney so I could figure this out, but from my viewpoint, it looks like:

1. RSS is trying to shield his main witness in the BA indictment from going under oath.
2. RSS has stepped WAY out of his lane and if he is wrong, malicious prosecution should be in line.
3. It appears he DOES act as her attorney in a civil case in another county, that should have nothing to do with his indictment.

Anonymous said...

Judge Longwitz will have to rule on the issue of her testimony.

Since he is new to being a Judge I imagine he will be deferential and allow her not to testify until the criminal matters are resolved.

Alternatively, he may order her to testify and all she is going to do is plead the fifth to every question. That, in effect, is an admission of guilt on her look for her to never testify....even in the face of a court order.

Anonymous said...

Downtown Jackson Partners sued Linda Brune on December 10, 2014 in Madison County Court for allegedly embezzling $40,439. The lawsuit also states she was "terminated on July 25, 2014 for sharing confidential corporate information with a reporter from the Clarion-Ledger."

Fired for talking to a reporter but not for stealing. Something wrong here. Sounds like someone wants to cover up something.

Anonymous said...

I agree 9:39. It does sound like Brune and RSS are trying to cover something up.

Anonymous said...

A lot of you non-attorneys commenting obviously do not understand the distinction between a civil and criminal matter, or the nature of the elected position of district attorney. RSS supposedly represents the people, not the victim. The funny part is he is an attorney, yet apparently does not understand this either.

Longwitz will do the right thing. Which is why this isn't in Hinds County.

Anonymous said...

Rehab won't fix stupid.

Anonymous said...

RSS has one job to do: prosecute criminals. He completely refuses to do that job and spends what little time he does devote to "work" representing criminal defendants and witnesses in civil cases. He needs to step down as D.A. right now.

Anonymous said...

Wait, what??? I thought DJP was the "victim" of Ban's malfeasance. I also thought that if the same person was both a criminal and civil defendant, they could seek a stay of one action while the other works its way through. Never knew that applied to third parties.

Robert Shuler Smith pratices a form of law which is foreign to me. Does he have a single ADA willing to say, "Boss, stop."

Anonymous said...

This is the bunch of crazy folks all sides.DJP should be shut down right now.

Anonymous said...

10:07...HI LINDA!

Anonymous said...

IF RSS doesn't have enough problem with his recent indictment by the AG, this will finally seal his fate. Representing this defendant - and yes, he is clearly representing her by his statements in his letter ("The State of Mississippi represents Ms. Linda Brune as a victim".....She will not be available for depositions or any other matter.....until she has retained counsel.....Further, she has advised that she will request the Court....She vehemently opposes to waiving her right to a trial by jury, or any other rights.") in a civil matter in Madison County while he is a full-time attorney in Hinds violates any number of statutes and ethical matters.

She is not a victim - if, (big if) there is a victim in the Ben Allen matter in Hinds County it is DJP, not Brune.

The State of MS does not represent victims anyway, and RSS doesn't speak for the State of MS in this civil matter.

He letter makes attorney representations for Brune that she will not waive her right to trial, will not attend depositions, and does so in the position as her attorney until she 'retains her own'.

Don't know exactly what stuff RSS is using, but he ought to quit because he obviously has lost all recollections of what he should have learned in law school. I hope Begley has turned all this over to the bar and to MS Ethics Commission. Maybe we can be rid of RSS even quicker than we thought and get someone that will prosecute some of our Hinds County criminals rather than play these games.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, 10:18. The law-abiding citizens of Hinds County need a real district attorney, not this fool.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Are there still law abiding citizens in Hinds county?
They better get out of there while thy can.

Anonymous said...

Certainly this obvious idiocy rises to the level of a bar complaint?

Anonymous said...

Damn. You can't make this stuff up.....

Anonymous said...

Man oh man, how many ways can you spell stupid. I ain't an attorney, but this looks crazy to my "legal, ingnunt arse".

Surely this is not within the realm of a district attorney. I wish Michael Guest would chime in.

I Took Notes.. said...

9:38 has issued clarification as to how this shit will work.

He says, '...the judge is new to being a judge'. And, he 'imagines' the judge will allow her to not testify.

But, on the other hand, the learned opinion of 9:38 is that the judge may order her to testify.

So, here we have it. Either the judge will order her to testify or he will not. Who did not already know that?

But the most educational part of his post is the revelation that pleading the fifth is an admission of guilt.

People waste their time and money on law school when they could come here for this type of education.

Anonymous said...

I have been a lawyer for over 30 years and I worked as a prosecutor in the past. I can see no reason why RSS would object to Brune being deposed. If the roles were reversed I would understand because certainly Ben Allen would have a 5th amendment right against self-incrimination but I can see no reason for a victim not to be deposed unless you are trying to hide something. Perhaps RSS is afraid that during the deposition Brune would incriminate herself regarding the embezzlement accusation. As a prosecutor I would always tell my victims to "just tell the truth", I cannot see why that advice would not work for Brune during a deposition.

Anonymous said...

Right, 8:44. Every lawyer, at some time during the conversation alludes to 'just telling the truth'. But you guys also cleverly insert a few "You might want to says" and a couple of "It will help our case if you recall it this way, but tell the truth". Deny that at your own peril Mr. Prosecutor with thirty years of practice.

Anonymous said...

8:44, one thing for sure, you are not a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

4:42 PM this is 9:38 AM

I guess your ex-wife took you back to court and made you pay more money.

Sorry it causes you to be an asshole.

The point of the post is the end...she may never testify because procedurally, in terms of evidence, her pleading the fifth works as a presumption against her position so a jury can be charged accordingly.

I said that at the end....the beginning was an attempt at explaining why a judge may not interfere and avoid the politics.....because he's new and he's a politician.....who has to run again....better to remain fair....maybe.

So sorry you were offended.

Hire a better lawyer to help you next time you get dragged on for a modification....and take a stripper home from Danny' need to get laid.

Anonymous said...

Longwitz will do whatever he thinks is politically advantageous to his career. He's never done anything else, ever.

Marc Goldbach said...

It will be good to Ms. Brune to always accompany by legal attorney every time she is appearing in the court. Sooner or later she will blame herself by not seeking legal assistance.

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