Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith is trying to keep a transcripts where he repeatedly uses the "N" word out of court. Mr. Smith included several transcripts of recordings between him and former Assistant District Attorney Ivon Johnson in a motion to exclude tapes and transcripts that he filed last week. A grand jury indicted the District Attorney last month for three counts of improperly helping criminal defendants. However, the A.G. accused the D.A. of grandstanding with the transcripts.
A hearing will be held on this motion and several others tomorrow in State v. Robert Shuler Smith. Special Circuit Judge Larry Roberts will also rule on the Attorney General's request to disqualify attorney Jim Wade from representing Mr. Smith.
Former Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Ivon Johnson pleaded guilty this year to federal charges of accepting bribes in exchange for granting favorable treatment to criminal defendants. Mr. Johnson agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and wore a wire during several conversations with the District Attorney. However, attorney Tom Fortner argued on behalf of Mr. Smith that Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst agreed several years ago to notify Mr. Smith if he was the target of an investigation. Mr. Fortner did not submit a copy of any such written agreement.
A Hinds County grand jury indicted Christopher Butler twice in 2012 for possessing more than one kilo of marijuana. District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith tried to drop the charges but Circuit Judge Jeff Weill would not allow him to do so unless he filed a motion in writing and stated his reasons for the request. Mr. Smith then asked Judge Weill to recuse himself but the jurist refused. Mr. Smith later attempted to subpoena Judge Weill before a grand jury.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General arrested Mr. Butler for several charges of consumer fraud. Attorney General lawyers Patrick Beasley and Shaun Yurkturan represented the A.G. County Court Judge Melvin Priester, Sr. attempted to hold a preliminary hearing for Mr. Butler on March 3. However, the D.A. interrupted the hearing. Judge Priester shut it down after Mr. Smith made a rather colorful presentation to the court and held the hearing at later date. Mr. Butler is still held at an undisclosed location in Rankin County on a $500,000 bond. Both Mr. Beasley and Mr. Yurkturan worked for Mr. Smith as Assistant District Attorneys several years ago. Attorney Sanford Knott represented Mr. Butler at the hearing. The D.A. was indicted for allegedly helping Mr. Butler in violation of the law since he was a criminal defendant. Mr. Smith accuses MBN agents of framing Christopher Butler.
That was the introduction, now for the good stuff.
*The meeting between Mr. Smith and Mr. Johnson starts off with the two prosecutors discussing the preliminary hearing. They then discuss the hiring of Tupelo Attorney JIM Waaaaaaaaaaaade to represent Mr. Butler (p.7)
MR. SMITH: So we got Jim Wade*Attorney John Reeves than enters the picture as Mr. Smith (p.8) apparently was going to appoint him as a special prosecutor:
MR. JOHNSON: Okay.
MR. SMITH: · -- who is like the best mother fucking attorney in the US. You know -- you know who
Jim Wade, right?
MR. JOHNSON: Yeah. Yeah, I remember you telling me about him.
MR. SMITH: Oh, my God. Oh, my God that guy so good. But he came down here straight from New Orleans when I called him, and got the -- shit, I had -- Jamie was in there. I thought Jamie was going t show him the video, and, hell, by the time he got finished explaining that shit, Jim was like, damn, Robert, don't worry about it....
MR. SMITH: Because John Reeves, I had a real long, long, long talk with him about -- about being 100 on this damn thing. He's going to be the special prosecutor on this.
MR. JOHNSON: Okay.
MR. SMITH: So that was the only thing that Walter suggested, that I have a special prosecutor --
MR. JOHNSON: Special prosecutor.
*Mr. Johnson asked the D.A. what "the big picture" was regarding the "Butler cases". The D.A. said he was going after the judge:
MR. SMITH: I'm going to get Weill next. See, I -- let me show you what I talking about. But, see, this whole system, like I said, they've been just fucking over and make -- you know, like like we just fucking weak and this and that. Fuck that, no, no, no, no, no, huh-huh, huh-huh.
*Mr. Smith couldn't help but use the N word but it must be pointed out that his use of it ended in an "er" and not an "a". Clearly the District Attorney has some work to do in learning how to use that word properly. Mr. Smith was discussing his dad's handling of his rental properties (p.12):
MR. SMITH: Yeah. Yeah. so· -- so, you kn ow, it might have been somebody up there -- some nigger named "Cap." See, I haven't been around to check them out until recently. And so -- but the my dad would would not sale.
*Mr. Smith then moved on to threatening to charge the feds with intimidating a witness. The discussion begins with the D.A. accusing the Sheriff and his employees of harassing Butler in jail:
MR. SMITH: they -- boy, Lord, I can't wait. But someone came to his cell. I think he said around -- of course it was Saturday night, but that would be Sunday morning around 2:30 in the morning, and they said face the wall. He was like, oh, lord, what the hell? Faced the wall. And they went into his cell and started grabbing his paperwork and shit trying to --
MR. JOHNSON: Who went in?
MR. SMITH: Well, see, we don't know yet.
MR. JOHNSON: We don't know yet, okay.
MR. SMITH: We fixing to find out. So he said they said, oh, you the one that's been causing all these problems, right?
Right. So then they leave . Well, when his family comes to me, I go over to the sheriff's department, and they all huddled up in there in Victor's office. And then they come out with different excuses; he on lockdown. He on -- I said,
well, I'll wait. And so after a while, I said what what I need to do is issue these subpoenas, so the video. of the visit, the visitation records, and I asked for a whole bunch of shit. So I'm going to find out who that is, and I don't give a fuck who it is. It could be mother fucking fed, whatever, I'm going to charge those mother fuckers with intimidating a witness as well so --
MR. JOHNSON: So they've got his bond set at $500,000?
MR. SMITH: Yeah, he's telling the truth.
MR. JOHNSON: So, ultimately, you think this will free Butler?
MR. SMITH: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Oh, we going to get him free now between me and Wade and all that and then Dennis is doing his thing on the other one. (KF note: Dennis is Dennis Sweet)
Mr. Smith then spent several pages grousing about his former prosecutors and argued they were trying to use the Butler case to get at him.
The Attorney General responded and said that Mr. Smith was merely trying his case in public in violation of several rules of professional conduct. The response states that the transcripts were never actually submitted to the court as evidence and that the D.A. had them served on the Clarion-Ledger's lawyer even though the newspaper is not a party to the case.
Note: Part 2 of the transcript will be posted tonight.
There is no smoking gun in this recording. It is interesting that the D.A. was going to sic attorney John Reeves as a criminal prosecutor on several of his opponents. It is also interesting that he was discussing going after a sitting judge.
So if the A.G. is to be believed, is the D.A. trying to make sure everyone knows he uses the "N" word?
P.45: Motion to exclude
P. 51: Response to Motion to exclude
P.55: Fortner letter
P.56: Rest of file, including indictment.