- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed 13 of the 14 counts against four Jackson County Sheriff’s Department investigators in a lawsuit brought by former Ocean Springs alderman James Hagan.

In an order filed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden dismissed all the charges with the exception of a state charge of malicious prosecution. All charges remain against Jackson County and former Sheriff Mike Byrd.

“I’m very pleased with the court’s ruling,” said Pascagoula attorney James Heidelberg, who represented the four detectives. “When you got down to the legal issues involved in this case, it’s always been our position as a matter of law that my clients didn’t violate any civil rights or any federal laws.”

Hagan filed the lawsuit after a grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict him on charges of unlawful touching of a child and embezzlement. He had been arrested on those charges and a child exploitation charge in 2011. He was indicted on the latter charge, which involves child pornography, but the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charge, citing lack of evidence.

Hagan sought $30 million in damages.

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