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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Famous Lawyer Smacked Down in Bribery Case (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Famous Lawyer Shutout in Key Motions in Bribery Case
The National Law Journal by Julie Kay - February 28, 2008

In a huge blow to the defense of Mississippi plaintiff attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the judge overseeing his bribery case denied a slew of defense motions Monday, including change of venue and motion to suppress wiretaps.

In one of the motions, U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. even went so far as to characterize a Scruggs' co-defendant's actions as corruption.

In a case that has rocked Mississippi legal circles, Scruggs, along with four co-defendants, is being charged with conspiring to bribe a judge to rule his way in a $26 million fee dispute on Hurricane Katrina cases. Two co-defendants have plead guilty and agreed to cooperate against Scruggs, his son, Zack, and their co-counsel Sidney Backstrom. The trial is set for March 31.

In their motion to suppress the wiretaps, Scruggs' lawyers had argued that the defendants did not discuss offering a monetary amount to Judge Henry Lackey. However, Biggers said because defendant Balducci offered Lackey a job as "of counsel" at Balducci's law firm after he retired, that constitutes "a clear and gross violation of all known code of ethics applicable to attorneys and judicial officers." "Indeed, when an act such as this occurs, perceived by the judge possibly to be an attempt to corrupt or bribe, it is incumbent on the judge to report the matter to appropriate authorities, which is what Judge Lackey did," stated the order.

He also stated that the mere fact of Timothy Balducci ­ not an attorney of record in the case ­ visiting Lackey when the opposing counsel has no notice of the visit "amounts to an effort to corrupt the judge." Biggers also denied a motion by the Scruggs team to block jurors from hearing evidence on a related bribery case playing out in Hinds County, Miss., involving famed Judge Bobby DeLaughter. Lastly, he flatly denied Scruggs' motion for a change of venue without explanation.

Still left for Biggers to rule on is a request by the government to have jurors sequestered and anonymous. The prosecution insinuated in its motion that it wanted the jury anonymous to prevent jury tampering by the defense.

Scruggs' attorneys filed a motion objecting to the request, saying "the government has failed to show that the publicity here poses any threat to the security or safety of the jury. Under these circumstances, there is no reason whatsoever to utilize an anonymous jury in this case."


Anonymous said...

Readers and watchers of this case should be cautious about its implications. Firstly, this case is not about attorney corruption but is an attack by the Bush administration to attack the trial lawyers. Firstly, trial lawyers are a hugh source of campain funds for the demoracts. Secondly, Scruggs and others like him have been a thorn in side of big business throughout the country with their success at mass tort claims, etc. The Bush administration immediately changed the law to make all national class action law Federal cases - smaller verdicts/more hostile judges to tort claims -rather than have them stay in State courts - more favorable juries/ less hostile judges to tort claims. Further the attempted use of an anonymous jury in this type case is scary and points to how vicious the Bush Administration is and and is prelude to when one gives up the rights all in the name of security and fear. Meaning anonymous juries were first used against mobsters/mafia/la costra nostra - claiming that it was to protect juries from intimidation/murder/assault from these defendants alleged to been innocent until and jury of your peers proves guilty , if at all. Now in this case where is no threat of violence involved in the allegations or even known regarding the defendants
the prosecutors/Bush administrations is asking for an anonymous jury. This is dangerous, in fact extremely dangerous, as it is a prelude to the day where anonymous juries are the norm are just a judge trial. This is not what we want. Furthermore, while allegations are seedy the defense has a real chance at an entrapment defense. It was in fact the judge who first solicited the bribe and the amount of money - $40k - to be paid by the scruggs firm. I personally always felt the bribe was an odd figure given that the scruggs firm was fighting over $26 Million dollars in attorney fees and were looking for a favorable ruling from the judge. It seems to me that if they were looking to really bribe the judge they would offered him a much larger amount of money. In summation, this case is not about attorney fraud or malfeasance but is part of the larger agenda of the Bush administration to limit our civil rights, access to the courts, get rid jury trials and damaging the democratic party. Be aware that the unconstitutional laws used in the war on terror will be the norm if the Bush Administration gets their way.

Anonymous said...

the bunch of them are crooked ... this story will give people some insight to what goes on and how things work ... Sen. Lott is involved in the background

Anonymous said...

Bush, his Administration and the Supreme Court that he has put in place have stabbed the AMERICAN CONSTITUTION in the HEART and we are now awaiting a democratic!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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