JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge again has ruled against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood in his efforts to investigate Internet search giant Google Inc.


Last month, Judge Henry Wingate for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi granted Google’s motion for a temporary restraining order and motion for preliminary injunction against Hood.


The judge’s order prevents the attorney general from enforcing subpoenas or bringing a civil or criminal charge against Google under state law, as threatened.

Last week, Wingate again sided with Google. This time, he ordered Hood to produce by Wednesday: any draft subpoenas provided to him by the third parties identified in Google’s request, including the Motion Picture Association of America; various emails and Word files; and an August 2014 letter sent to the attorneys general in all 50 states setting up a working group.


Wingate said Hood also must complete his response to Google’s document requests by April 27.


Hood tried to delay having to hand over the requested documents. And even after Wingate issued his order last week, the attorney general filed a stay of discovery pending appeal.


Last fall, Hood sent a 79-page subpoena to Google. The attorney general has said he suspects the company is helping criminals through its search engine and autocomplete function. Hood also takes issue with the company’s sharing of YouTube ad revenue.


But Google, which filed its lawsuit against Hood in December, argues it can’t be held responsible for third-party content. It also believes the attorney general is in cahoots with movie studios to use legal action to obtain better piracy protection.


In a full written order March 27 -- a follow-up to his March 2 order granting Google’s motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction -- Wingate was highly critical of the attorney general, saying he could not “wage an unduly burdensome fishing expedition into Google’s operations.”


A trial date has not been set.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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