A Mississippi judge has upheld $10 million in fees paid to lawyers for handling a state lawsuit against computer software manufacturer Microsoft Corp.
Hinds County Chancellor Denise Owens on Wednesday dismissed the challenge filed by State Auditor Stacy Pickering.
Microsoft reached a $100 million settlement with the state last June. It agreed to pay $10 million to lawyers hired by the attorney general's office to handle the case.
Pickering sued, arguing the fees should be paid with money appropriated by the Legislature.
Owens said state law allows the attorney general to hire outside lawyers. Those lawyers received no funds from the state, Owens said, and the legal fees were separate from the settlement.
In February, Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd threw out Pickering's challenge to $14 million in legal fees paid to lawyers in a state lawsuit against MCI.
"Two judges, in two different lawsuits brought by the state auditor, have now reached the same conclusion that these cases involving fees paid to outside legal counsel had no merit and held no basis in fact," Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement.
Hood said he has asked the auditor to show how much money has spent on the two cases challenging the fees, including money paid to attorneys Pickering hired.