Local News

More Aides Called To Testify In Federal Case Against State Ag Commissioner

Posted May 7, 2003

— Federal investigators turned up the heat in the scandal surrounding Ag Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps' 2000 campaign. A grand jury reconvened Wednesday as the U.S. Attorney continues to build a case.

State Fair manager Wesley Wyatt is one of several Ag Department employees called to testify in this latest round of grand jury proceedings. FBI agents have established a pattern of campaign money for Phipps being raised illegally and then diverted.

Federal investigators have subpoenaed a long list of personal documents and correspondence from Wyatt, Deputy Commissioner Mike Blanton and others.

While agents have not talked with Meg Scott Phipps personally, they continue to press her current and former aides to talk, two of whom have been indicted. Linda Saunders faces 17 counts of fraud, extortion and conspiracy. Bobby McLamb already pleaded guilty admitting he pressured vendors for cash and then conspiring to hide the money.

The U.S. attorney has said that the more McLamb and Saunders cooperate, the better chance they have to reduce their sentences.

The grand jury is scheduled to meet again Thursday and Friday. David McCloud, legal counsel for the state Ag Department, is also among the employees on the subpoena list.

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