Espy hired as attorney for Claiborne board|[4/06/06]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2006

Jackson attorney Mike Espy has been hired by the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors as its interim attorney.

Espy succeeds homicide victim Allen Lamar Burrell.

Espy, a Yazoo City native, is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

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Board President Charles Shorts said the board decided to hire Espy because he was already working for the county.

&#8220He was working on matters involving Grand Gulf (Nuclear Station),” Shorts said. As such, Espy was already familiar with much of the business of the board.

Burrell was shot to death in front of his Port Gibson office on March 17. Carl Brandon, 53, also of Port Gibson, turned himself in to the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office shortly after the shooting. He remains in Claiborne County Jail on murder charges, and the case is expected to be presented to a grand jury in the fall. Burrell had served Claiborne supervisors as the board’s attorney since the mid-1980s.

The board acted to hire Espy as its attorney during a meeting on March 30, said James Miller, county administrator. He immediately went to work.

Chancery Clerk Gloria Dotson said the board and Espy agreed he would be paid in the same way as Burrell was, billing for work he does.

Espy served three terms in the U.S. House representing Mississippi’s District 2 from 1987 to 1993.

In 1993, Espy was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by then-President Clinton. He resigned the post in 1994 when he came under suspicion for improperly taking gifts from companies. He was acquitted of 30 counts after a federal judge had already thrown out eight.