Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith asked for everything, including the kitchen sink and all indoor plumbing, from Ben Allen, his lawyer, Kamikaze, Downtown Jackson Partners, and other lawyers in a bizarre motion for discovery that was filed on October 20 in State v. Benjamin Allen, III. A grand jury indicted the DJP Executive Director in March for ten counts of fraud and embezzlement. The grand jury also indicted two employees of the State Auditor for allegedly obstructing the investigation of Mr. Allen. However, Mr. Allen and his lawyer, Merrida Coxwell, fired right back at the District Attorney in a response that was filed Monday.
Mr. Smith began by asking for copies of the defendant's personal tax returns from 2007 to 2013 and apparently forgot about attorney-client privilege because he demanded Mr. Allen:
provide documents, including but not limited to, any written communications or correspondence between ANY and ALL members of Downtown Jackson Partners,to include Ben Allen, Robert Gibbs, Sam Begley to ANY and ALL law enforcement agencies, District Attorney's Offices, the Mississippi State Attorney General's office, the Mississippi State Auditor's Office, or any other law enforcement agency regarding allegations of wrongdoing by Ms. Linda Brune.Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Begley are the attorneys for Downtown Jackson Partners. Ms. Brune is the former assistant to Mr. Allen. DJP is suing her in Madison County Court for embezzlement. The Hinds County grand jury "no-billed" her for the alleged embezzlement.
Keep in mind, Mr. Smith is demanding all communication between these two lawyers and their clients. Mr. Smith next asked for records of all campaign donations:
Any and all unreported campaign contributions, to include, but not limited to, in-kind contributions to any political candidate, specifically, any and all sitting Judges in Hinds, Madison, and Rankin counties. Further, the State requests any and all contact made by any members of Downtown Jackson Partners, and/or various committees provided in the Defendant's discovery and motion to dismiss;Um, how does the defendant have access to the campaign contributions made by board members of DJP? Next up is the media and our friend Kamikaze:
That the State requests any and all payments made to any and all media outlets, including blogs and/or websites, from any and all members of Downtown Jackson Partners regarding Ben Allen and Linda Brune pertaining to media coverage regarding the above-referenced.
That further, any and all 1099 tax records related to various employees, such as Brad Franklin aka "Kamikazi," paid by Downtown Jackson Partners for any joint ventures, special projects, or any other business related purpose and/or personal matters pertaining who were paid by Downtown Jackson Partners.But the next demand is the crown jewel of the motion:
That the State further requests the production of ANY and ALL documents of all forms of communications made by ANY and ALL members, partners, and employees of Coxwell and Associates, ANY and ALL members of Downtown Jackson Partners (to include associates, subcontractors, employees, independent contractors, consultants, etc. who received money, payments, or provided services to DJP), and to ANY and ALL law enforcement agencies and or Prosecutorial Agencies leading up to the arrest of the Hinds County District Attorney. Further, that the State requests the production of ANY and ALL documents, or any other form of communications, including but not limited to textApparently there is no such thing as work product or attorney-client privilege.
messages, fax, biogs, emails, or by any other means between the Mississippi State Attorney General's Office and its employees, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and ANY and ALL prosecutorial agencies, and ANY and ALL communications with ANY and ALL Judges in Hinds County, MS or any employee of Hinds County, Mississippi regarding the arrest of Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith and leading up to the arrest of the Hinds County District Attorney.
Ben Allen's attorney, Merrida Coxwell, filed a response that dripped with acid. He says the discovery sought by the District Attorney in this criminal case was the type one seeks in a civil case. There is this matter of the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Coxwell also stated:
the defendant is only required to produce discovery which he “may offer in evidence”. 9.04 (C) 1-3. The documents requested from Mr. Allen do not constitute “reciprocal discovery” for the simple reason that Mr. Allen does not plan to offer any of these items in evidence at trial.
Mr. Coxwell also said that the District Attorney was not entitled to copies of Mr. Allen's tax returns since Mr. Allen does not plan to introduce those tax returns as evidence. Then there is the matter of all of those communications between Mr. Allen's lawyer and other parties. Mr. Coxwell replied:
4. In paragraph six (6) the District Attorney asking for a broad range of documents that do not constitute reciprocal discovery under Rule 9.04 and that are not relevant. To the extent any such documents exist, some would be protected by the work product privilege and the attorney-client privilege. Nevertheless, Rule 9.04 does not require the production of this evidence for the District Attorney since the items will not be offered in evidence by the defense. If the District Attorney believes this evidence exits, he is free to make the calls and inquiries to law enforcement agencies. Nothing in the law or rules requires the accused to do the work for the prosecutor.The defense also refused to provide copies of campaign donations as requested by the District Attorney:
In paragraph 8 the District Attorney asks for any campaign contributions made to any sitting Judge in Hinds County, Mississippi. First, campaign contributions are recorded at the Secretary of State’s Office and the District Attorney is capable of finding this information on his own. Second, the Downtown Jackson Partners are not charged with any crime in this matter. Downtown Jackson Partners is the victim of a crime due to a former employee theft. The nonprofit corporation does not make contributions to Judges and the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, or the Advisory Board is under no obligation to provide this information. All of the prior Board Members, Advisory Members, and Executive Members are listed in the discovery provided to the District Attorney. Since Mr. Allen will not introduce such evidence at trial 9.04 does not require him to produce it to the District Attorney. This information is readily available to anyone at the Secretary of State’s Office and the District Attorney can obtain it if he so desires.Mr. Coxwell was not done with the District Attorney and took up the matter of payments to the media and all things Kamikaze:
In paragraph 9 the District Attorney asks for payments to any and all media outlets, including blogs and/or websites, from any and all members of Downtown Jackson Partners. The Downtown Jackson Partners is not subject to Rule 9.04 and does not have to provide information to the District Attorney. Furthermore, this information is not relevant to the issues before the Court.
However, Mr. Coxwell channeled his inner William Safire and successfully used "smorgasbord" in a sentence:
the District Attorney asks for payments by Downtown Jackson Partners to Brad Franklin aka “Kamikaze.” Whatever this matter concerns it is not relevant to the issues before the Court. Downtown Jackson Partners is not subject to Rule 9.04, since it is not a party to this matter. DJP is a victim of theft yet the district attorney is treating the nonprofit like a criminal defendant. Rule 9.04 requires reciprocal discovery, it does not require and accused to help the district attorney or any law enforcement agency develop their theory. The tax returns for audit tax returns for DJP are included in the Exhibit and the information sought might be in those documents.
In paragraph 11 the District Attorney asks for a smorgasbord of information from Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, Downtown Jackson Partners, and anyone else that might be connected with the arrest of District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith. It is difficult to answer this request because of its bizarre nature. First, it is not relevant to any inquiry before the Court. The request by the District Attorney would seem to suggest that all the entities are involved in a conspiracy against him, which is nonsensical. Second, Downtown Jackson Partners is not subject to the discovery rule in this case. None of the entities set forth in the District Attorneys request are subject to the reciprocal discovery rule.Judge Winston Kidd presides over the case.
Lastly, and as a way of setting the record straight, no person at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, had anything to do with Mr. Robert Shuler Smith’s arrest or indictment. Mr. Smith’s scurrilous allegation should be stricken from the record. Mr. Smith has absolutely no basis for making this allegation. Mr. Allen’s attorneys request that the District Attorney’s remarks about Coxwell & Associates, its attorneys and employees be stricken from the record and request any and all other relief as deemed appropriate from the Court.
Kingfish note: Mr. Smith is apparently trying to drum up anything he can to show the existence of TGHC- The Great Honky Conspiracy. He is trying to tie in all the judges, the Attorney General, Mr. Allen, the State Auditor, and Downtown Jackson Partner to some great conspiracy against him. Such tactics will probably work with the WMPR crowd as they are not too bright.
Don't take my word for it. Read the motion and response for yourself.
Page 1: Motion to compel discovery
Page 6: Response to motion to compel
Page 18: Motion to dismiss indictment
Page 30: Indictment