In a legal move that will probably receive the sum total of zero coverage in the Mississippi mainstream media, Google has notched a major win in federal court against an over-zealous persecution (err prosecution) by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.
We’ve covered this a good bit already in prior posts. The Motion Picture Association of America has been locked in a legal death struggle with Google over content. Their lobbyists have successfully convinced Jim Hood to request discovery from Google via a Civil Investigative Demand (CID), which would serve the MPAA’s purpose of generating pressure on Google to aid in leverage for their ongoing dispute. They even had a name for it . . . Project Goliath . . . complete with funding.
Their internally stated goal was to get state AGs to take the fight to Goliath (Google) to help their civil cause.
“Following the issuance of the CID [civil investigative demand] by [Mississippi attorney general Jim] Hood (which may create yet another uproar by Google), we may be in a position for more serious discussions with Google.” A report from the previous February suggests that the Goliath group drafted civil investigative demands (similar to a subpoena) to be issued by the attorneys general. “Some subset of AGs (3-5, but Hood alone if necessary) should move toward issuing CIDs before mid-May,” the email says. (Hood issued a CID against Google in July concerning pharmaceutical counterfeiting, but he does not appear to have issued any actions against the company since Fabrizio’s letter in October.)
For folks who have followed Y’allPolitics over the years, this hand-in-glove effort between plaintiffs’ lawyers and entrenched interests and prosecutors from the MS AG’s office is nothing new. It was done extensively in the State Farm case. Like Google, State Farm sued Hood over almost identical circumstances where Hood was seeking criminal prosecution and civil damages in coordination with an outside group of plaintiffs. Hood’s interests were squarely aligned with Dickie Scruggs and his Scruggs Katrina Group cohorts and those efforts were coordinated via former AG Mike Moore, who was also working with plaintiffs on the civil side. Like Google has just done, State Farm got some relief from the federal court and eventually crafted a settlement. Parenthetically, Hood’s office denied that settlement publicly and Y’allPolitics and three other TV stations sued in federal court to have the settlement agreement revealed. That settlement forced an immediate and total capitulation by AG Jim Hood’s office and ended that investigation.
Here’s the order in the Google case. Judge Henry Wingate does not parse words saying, in part, “The court is persuaded that this conduct may evidence bad faith on the part of the Attorney General.”
Mark my words . . . you will hear utter silence from the state’s editorial pages or investigative reporters. Their silence is telling, speaks to their clear bias and remains a tacit endorsement of Hood’s tactics regardless of how many federal judges rebuke his actions. To them, the ends continue to justify the means.
Did we mention that there’s an Attorney General’s race in November?