Judge denies motion for discovery to prove ‘selective prosecution’ in Johnson case

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 10:04 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Hinds County election commissioner will not be allowed to seek documents related to whether she is being “selectively prosecuted,” at least not until the conclusion of her criminal trial.

On Wednesday, Justice Jess Dickinson denied a request from District 2 Election Commissioner Toni Johnson to file multiple subpoenas to prove she is being prosecuted for political reasons or because of her race.

“Any discovery on a claim of selective prosecution is not proper at this time and should instead be conducted, if at all, following the conclusion of the prosecution,” Dickinson wrote in his one-page order handed down on December 21. “The defendant’s motion for an evidentiary hearing is hereby denied.”

Johnson is facing 26 felony counts related to the misuse of hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars in election grant money Hinds County received to keep voters and poll workers safe during the November 2020 general election.

[Watch our investigation into the alleged misspending here.]

The commissioner was initially indicted in February and reindicted in September. She is expected to go to trial in January.

Johnson’s attorney, Lisa Ross, was seeking permission to subpoena records related to what she says is the state’s refusal to prosecute some high-profile state leaders allegedly tied to the TANF scandal.

Ross could not be reached for comment. During Tuesday’s hearing, she said she would accept the judge’s ruling.

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