February 15th, 2012
07:23 AM ET

Chasing Haley Barbour: Ex-governor dodges questions about pardons

For more than a month, we have repeatedly asked former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to sit down and talk about the roughly 200 pardons he issued in his last days in office. And for more than a month, the answer we've received from his spokesperson is a resounding "No!"

Barbour did answer a few questions from CNN's John King a few weeks ago, when he defended his decisions.

"When we have people who get rehabilitated and after 20 years of service and they deserve a second chance, it's the governor's job and the governor's job alone to let them have a second chance. That's why I'm comfortable with this," Barbour said.

But the brief answers glossed over major questions about how Barbour came to pardon so many people, and victims' families are angry that they've never met face-to-face with the governor.

The most controversial pardons were issued to four convicted murderers who worked as trusties at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson. The families of those victims say the governor has never met with them personally, never returned phone calls.

Barbour has said these men committed crimes of passion and are less likely to commit murder again. That's no consolation to victims.

It also doesn't explain how Joseph Ozment was pardoned. Ozment admitted shooting convenience store clerk Ricky Montgomery in the head twice so the man couldn't identify him as a robbery suspect.

There are also questions about how a retired IRS investigator, Harry Bostick, could have been pardoned. Bostick is a repeat DUI offender whose third felony charge was pardoned.

Pardon application documents show that friends told Barbour that Bostick had stopped drinking and turned his life around. About a week after the pardon application was approved and sent to the governor, Bostick was arrested in a fourth DUI case: a car crash that ended with the death of an 18-year-old girl. He's awaiting formal charges.

But Barbour and the Mississippi Parole Board say they had no idea Bostick had been arrested a fourth time.

These questions remain unanswered. So if Barbour won't come to us, we decided to go to him.

He gave a speech at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, as part of the school's historic mock political convention.

We showed up with cameras rolling, and it sparked a game of cat and mouse, with Haley Barbour trying to dodge our questions at every turn.

One exchange with Barbour captured the experience perfectly: As he walked into the building, he seemed to suggest he'd come back outside to answer questions.

I told him, "OK, we'll wait for you out here, then."

And as he hurried inside, I could hear him say, "Good, stay where it's cold."

I knew then getting Barbour to talk wasn't going to happen.

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Filed under: Justice • Mississippi
soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. planetjavaleo

    It's not any parties problem it is the entire system is corrupt, why on earth on the politicians not condemning this act by Ex Gov Barbour????? Because they all use the system for benefit, we the people need to protest this throughout America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. planetjavaleo

    Barbour is just a shining example of political corruption, just like Bladgoiavich in Chicago, but we need to push for accountability. Politicians should not be above the law!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Behonest

    A true Man will make amends when done wrong. Owning one's mistake is true honorable person. Mr Barbour is far from that. As you can see Mr Barbour has also blocked his own FB page so no one can leave criticism on his wall. I wonder why? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that he pretty much pardoned anyone during his last term in the office. I believed in Karma. Shame on you. Haley Barbour you are a disgrace.

    February 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. smokinbluebear

    was that obese, imperious man actually boss hogg's younger brother?

    February 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pabloinbama

    people seem to think that what the he (the gov) did somehow needed people's approval. He' doesn't and didn't. He is well within his authority to grant a pardon to whomever he wants or finds to be deserving.

    February 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Loyal Democrat

    Is he one of Obama's Uncles?

    February 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. james

    ""Chasing Haley Barbour: Ex-governor dodges questions about pardons""–Quite frankly CNN, Barbour doesn't owe you a damn thing. If I was him I would flip you off. Most of you are Rude anyway.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph

    Fraud News would still call him Governor.

    February 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
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