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Monday, April 2, 2012

Federal Prosecutor Says 'The Fix Was In' in Judicial Bribery Case

Trent Lott testifies as Richard 'Dickie' Scruggs fights conviction
The Associated Press - March 26, 2012

OXFORD, Mississippi -- Former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott has testified that he never promised to recommend a Hinds County judge for a federal post and never consulted with his brother-in-law -- imprisoned former attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs -- when he reviewed candidate's resumes for those jobs.  The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Lott was the first witness Monday in federal court in Oxford. His testimony matched what he has said before about his interaction with the judge.  Scruggs is serving a seven-year sentence. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to one count of depriving the citizens of Mississippi of honest services from DeLaughter.  Scruggs has argued that the limits imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court on so-called honest services fraud mean no juror would today convict him of the crime to which he pleaded guilty.  Prosecutors insist Scruggs broke the law when he promised to recommend DeLaughter for a federal judgeship. Scruggs said it was protected political speech.  Lott testified that he talked with DeLaughter as a courtesy as he did other people, but never told DeLaughter he would be recommended for a federal judgeship.  "On more than one occasion, I'd make a courtesy call. I was very careful in these. In the case of DeLaughter, because of my absolute knowledge he wouldn't be considered, I can't conceive of any reason he would think he would be considered," Lott said.  Lott said he talked with DeLaughter about the process that he and fellow Republican Sen. Thad Cochran followed in recommending judicial candidates to the White House.  Lott said there was no truth to the suggestion that Scruggs "was a gatekeeper or influence" on his decision on who to recommend for judgeships  Edward "Chip" Robertson, a lawyer for Scruggs, told U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson that there was no judgeship offered to DeLaughter to get him to rule for Scruggs in a civil case.  "A bribe involves specific intent of something of value in exchange for a judicial decision. If quid pro quo misses quo, there is no bribe. Circumstantial evidence is all that's left," Robertson said.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Norman said during the conversation with Lott, DeLaughter got the impression that he was being considered for a federal judgeship. Norman said in a letter to Lott, DeLaugher did not mention a courtesy call but DeLaughter thanks Lott for his consideration for a judgeship.  "The fix was in; the hook was in. DeLaughter sold his soul. In end Scruggs defrauded him, too," Norman said.


Anonymous said...

One phone call from a 'special' friend is all that's needed. Law and Order is gone. The Constitution doesn't matter. Rules are made to be broken.

Anonymous said...

Honest service from a Mississippi judge is as rare as honest service form a NY judge. Extinct?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I'm reading. Is this an April fool's joke website?!?

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