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New judge appointed to hear ex-DMR director's criminal trial

UnknownGULFPORT — Criminal cases against Bill Walker, former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, his son, Scott Walker, and three others have been reassigned to U.S. District Court Judge Keith Starrett.

Starrett usually hears cases in Hattiesburg. U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr., the chief judge for Mississippi’s Southern District, was originally assigned to the cases. Guirola is based in Gulfport.

The Sun Herald reports orders filed in two cases, signed by Guirola, say they have been reassigned to Starrett to evenly distribute the workload and ensure “efficient disposition.”

The charges against the five range from conspiracy to defraud the federal government to mail fraud.

Attorneys for all the defendants have said they plan to plead not guilty to the charges.

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