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State Auditor Investigator Admits Federal Subpoena was to Keep DMR Records From Public

GULFPORT, Miss. — State Auditor Stacey Pickering and a number of people from his officer were in Chancery Court Wednesday, for contempt of court.

The auditor’s lawyer asked Judge Jennifer Schloegel to recuse herself from the case but she declined. She also declined their request to close the hearing to the public.

Back in October the court ruled that the state auditor had to turn over records taken from the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) during a corruption investigation to the Sun Herald newspaper because they were public records.

After the ruling, Pickering agreed to hand the records over to the paper, but overnight the records were taken from Biloxi to Jackson under a federal grand jury subpoena before they could be copied.

According to the Sun Herald, the head of investigations with the State Auditor’s Office, David Huggins, told the court he was the one that made the decision to move the records. He also admitted that a US Attorney subpoenaed the DMR records to prevent them from being disclosed to the public.

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