JACKSON — The Mississippi Supreme Court has reinstated the appeal of a lawsuit against a former federal prosecutor and a political blogger over a book they co-wrote about the judicial corruption case involving former attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs.
In 2011, FBI agent Hal Neilson sued authors Tom Dawson and Alan Lange and a publishing company.
The lawsuit alleged Dawson, a retired assistant U.S. attorney, and Lange, who runs the Y’all Politics blog, lied and made slanderous statements about Neilson in the book, “King of Torts,” as retaliation for Neilson filing a 2001 complaint against Dawson.
A Lafayette County judge ruled for the authors in 2012.
The Oxford Eagle reports the Supreme Court initially dismissed the appeal because court fees were not paid. The appeal was reinstated March 7, according to court records.
Neilson, the supervising agent for the FBI’s Oxford’s office from 1998 through 2008, filed a complaint against Dawson and his office for “their misuse of the grand jury process as well as their abuse of power” during investigations of residents who appeared to be Middle-Eastern. Neilson was told the complaint was deemed unsubstantiated by the Department of Justice. Neilson said Dawson became “outraged” about the complaint.
In his lawsuit, Neilson alleged Dawson and Lange’s book stated that Neilson was untrustworthy and named retired U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee and retired U.S. Assistant Attorney John Hailman as Dawson’s “coconspirators,” who worked together to try to have Neilson removed from the judicial bribery case of Scruggs.