Court in recess for mayoral election contest

Staff Writer

After four days in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, the mayoral election contest between Mayor Lynn Spruill and Democratic candidate Johnny Moore has finally reached an end for now.

Special Judge Barry Ford asked each legal team if they decided 15 days was enough time for them to prepare their proposed finding of facts and conclusions to the court.

Attorney Lydia Quarles, representing Spruill, asked Ford if they could have 21 days and he agreed.

Once the transcript of the court proceedings is provided to each team, the 21 days will begin. It is unclear as to when the transcript will be provided to each legal team. Then, the ruling of the trial will be submitted in writing.

Attorney William Starks, representing Moore, said he thinks the trial went well and hopes the identified ballots in question will be opened, examined and added to the count.

“We got all of the evidence in the ballots that we thought were in question,” Starks said.

Starks said the only surprise during the trial was when Spruill’s team changed their position over the 52 absentee ballots and deciding to have them thrown out.

Attorney Jim Mozingo, representing Spruill, said the trial went smoothly and what was discussed was what he expected to happen.

“I think all of the witnesses were good and straightforward, and the evidence came in well,” Mozingo said.

Mozingo said he didn’t expect Moore and his team to abandon a number of things they’ve filed complaints about during the trial. In particular, Mozingo said he didn’t expect them to not raise an issue about the absentee ballots that were bad.

Mozingo said that’s why they brought up the 52 absentee ballots, because they were an “absolute problem” with the election.

Ford concluded the day in court saying he would be contacting the members of the election commission to provide their input on the trial.

He said even though he is wanting their input, he will still ultimately make the decision.

“I’m going to call it just like I see it,” Ford said.

Each legal team went through the ballot boxes to obtain the 52 absentee ballots to give to Ford to examine.