On Sept. 24, Republican nominee for Mississippi state attorney general alleged that incumbent Democrat Jim Hood interfered with an investigation into a Mendenhall police chief. Hood's campaign characterized Hurst's allegations as desperate and "a complete lie." Today, Hood's camp slammed Hurst again, releasing the following statement, published here verbatim:
JACKSON, Miss (Friday, Sept. 25, 2015) – The Mississippi State Auditor’s retired supervising investigator over the case of former Mendenhall Police Chief Bruce Barlow today refuted the lies told by candidate Mike Hurst in his failed effort to save his campaign for attorney general.
Denver Smith, retired Mississippi State Audit, Senior Special Agent with Investigations from 1992 to 2015, issued the following statement through the Jim Hood for Attorney General Campaign:
"In all the time that I worked on the Barlow case, we never heard anything about the Attorney General's office doing anything illegal or improper. I've never heard anything like this until today (Thursday). I knew that the AG's office had closed the case because we were already involved in it with the FBI.”
Smith, who served as the state auditor’s supervising investigator in the Barlow case, continued:
“I checked with other agents who worked the case and asked them if anyone ever said that the AG's office did anything illegal or checked to see if they (the Attorney’s General’s Office) might have tipped Barlow off. These other agents all said they'd never heard of this and knew nothing about it."
Smith’s statement confirms Attorney General Jim Hood’s earlier statement that his office had been investigating the Barlow case in 2010 and then coordinated with the FBI after learning they were conducting their own investigation. The FBI stated they planned to bring federal charges and, based on that information, the Attorney General’s Office transferred its case file to the FBI and closed its state case. Barlow was ultimately convicted,
“First, Mr. Hurst owes an apology to the dedicated investigators and staff in the Attorney General’s Office who he shamefully and falsely accused of wrongdoing,” said Jonathan Compretta, campaign manager for the Jim Hood for Attorney General Campaign. “Second, we call on him to cease airing his fabricated television ads and stop the lies.”
The true testament to Hood’s integrity and character is reflected in the 41 Mississippi sheriff’s and district attorneys who endorsed him on Thursday, the most of any candidate in this year’s statewide elections. Hurst, who used an outgoing sheriff defeated in a primary campaign to concoct the Barlow story, has prosecuted and convicted three times fewer public officials for corruption than Jim Hood, yet touts his undersized record as a reason voters should elect him.
"Jim Hood’s record and his support from law enforcement officers speak volumes about why Mississippians trust him to protect their families,” Compretta said. “Hurst has a record of untruths and ambitious lies that Mississippians from Houston to Hickory can spot in a minute. We hope he will do the right thing and take down his ads.”