Housing director’s kickback/retaliation trial rescheduled for February

GREENVILLE — A housing agency director has received a month’s delay before she stands trial for allegedly taking kickbacks from a contractor and retaliating against a witness.

Ann “A.J.” Jefferson’s trial was moved from today to Feb. 29, The Delta Democrat Times reported.

Defense attorneys asked for the delay because of unspecified conflicts of counsel. Prosecutors did not object.

The trial had been scheduled in Oxford. Online court documents showed Sunday that it was rescheduled for Aberdeen before Senior U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson.

Jefferson is executive director of the South Delta Regional Housing Authority.

Contractor Jimmy Johnson, arrested the same day as Jefferson, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to aiding and abetting embezzlement in a kickback scheme from the agency. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; a sentencing date has not been set.

Prosecutors allege Jefferson paid Johnson $10,000 for work on a house in Leland that had already been completed, and for which the agency already paid $30,000. Johnson allegedly cashed the check at a pawn shop, then returned some of the money to Jefferson.

Jefferson is charged with obstructing justice, embezzling public money, witness tampering and trying to intimidate a witness.

If convicted on all nine charges against her, Jefferson could get up to 95 years in prison and nearly $2 million in fines.

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