Linda Bolton asks for continuance until Thompson letter reviewed

Linda Bolton asks for continuance until Thompson letter reviewed

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Legal counsel for Linda Bolton is asking to delay the upcoming federal trial for her and her husband, Forrest County Chief Deputy, Charles Bolton.

Bolton's attorney is arguing that a continuance is necessary due to a letter written by U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson.  The congressman wrote a letter in late April to the United States attorney general claiming discrimination surrounding the Bolton's case.

Bolton's counsel is asking that her and her husband's trial date be delayed until the United States Department of Justice concludes a review into Congressman Bennie Thompson's letter.

Thompson asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the Bolton's case, as well as the federal charges against Rev. Kenneth Fairley, claiming the charges are politically and racially motivated.

In his letter, Rep. Thompson asks Lynch to "directly investigate organized targeting of the African-American community in the form of prosecutions and other intimidation methods in furtherance of a local political agenda."

Thompson lists several instances of alleged targeting, including federal indictments issued against Kenneth Fairley and Forrest County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Charles Bolton.

"All of the complaints that I have received stem from the 2013 municipal elections in the City of Hattiesburg," Thompson said. "This particular mayoral election was bitterly fought and was divided, chiefly, along racial lines as many elections are in Mississippi. At the very least, this is a case of overreaching by local, state and federal officials as a way of punishing political enemies. At its worst, this is a case of concerted action by many federal and state officials. to target and manipulate the actions of African-Americans in Hattiesburg, Mississippi."

Linda's council also asks if the court denies their continuance regarding the letter, then to consider a shorter continuance to give them more time to prepare for trial.

The Government Response

Late Friday afternoon the Assistant United States Attorneys filed an opposition to the Bolton's motion stating that there is no active inquiry or investigation into Congressman Thompson's claims.

The government says they reached out to Congressman Thompson's office for exculpatory evidence backing his claims, but Thompson's office responded that they did not possess or have personal knowledge of any exculpatory evidence regarding Chief Deputy Bolton or his wife.

The government went on to point out that all decisions related to and surrounding the presentation of the indictments against the Boltons were under the exclusive control of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana which has had no relationship with anything connected to Charles and Linda Bolton prior to September 29, 2015.  This is significant because the claims attached to the Thompson letter were dated prior to that date.

The federal court has not answered Linda's continuance request at this time.

Both Linda and Charles are set to be in federal court in two weeks. The couple was indicted for felony tax evasion in March.