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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Judicial Bribery Scandal Back in the News

Scruggs case recesses for two weeks
The Commercial Appeal by Phil West  -  March 28 2012

OXFORD, Miss. -- A federal judge Tuesday recessed the trial of former lawyer Richard "Dickie" Scruggs for two weeks while lawyers prepare written arguments and the judge determines whether former Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter will have to testify. Scruggs' lawyers are trying to convince Senior U.S. Dist. Judge Glen Davidson that Scruggs did not improperly influence DeLaughter to rule in his favor in a legal-fees lawsuit stemming from a major asbestos settlement.  Lawyers for Scruggs, who pleaded guilty in 2009 and is serving a seven-year sentence, are trying to prove he is innocent of the charge he pleaded guilty to three years ago.  Scruggs' lawyers argue that, based on a 2010 Supreme Court decision, he would not be guilty today of violating honest services charges, which makes it a crime to deprive the public of the "honest services" of its officials.  Government lawyers say the $50,000 the Scruggs legal team paid to DeLaughter mentor Ed Peters is proof that Scruggs intended to bribe the judge to rule in his favor in a lawsuit over fees from the asbestos lawsuit settlement.  Proceedings ground to a halt at midafternoon after each side had completed its case, and the question arose over whether DeLaughter would appear in court.  Davidson told the lawyers to take two weeks to prepare their conclusions of law and findings of fact.  The case revolves around the $50,000 payment to Peters and whether that, along with allegations that Scruggs would use his influence with then-U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi to recommend DeLaughter for a federal judgeship, would influence DeLaughter in deciding legal fees in the asbestos lawsuit.  Lott denied Monday that he did anything more than make a courtesy call to DeLaughter.  Booneville lawyer Joey Langston testified that it became obvious that Peters was talking with DeLaughter soon after he and associate Tim Balducci paid Peters the $50,000 in cash.  "We all regret so many things here, and that's the thing I regret the most -- why didn't I stop him from having those ex parte communications with the judge," Langston testified.  Mississippi, like other states and federal courts, has rules that prohibit lawyers for one side to meet with a judge without the other side's lawyers being present, an ex parte contact.  The practice also is known in Mississippi legal circles as "earwigging" a judge, and it is prohibited by court rules.  Under cross-examination by Asst. U.S. Atty. Bob Norman, Langston admitted it was a crime to try to influence a judge.  "When you dangled this possibility of a federal judgeship before a thirsty judge, that was a thing of value, wasn't it?" Norman asked.  "It eventually did," Langston said.

See Related/Background Stories:

More Mississippi Mud on Scruggs' Judicial Fixin'

Bribing Judges a National Problem

Federal Judge: "The justice system made you a rich man, yet you attempted to corrupt it"

Famed Litigator Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Bribe Judge

Attorney Sentenced in Judicial Bribery Scandal

Federal Judge Bribery Scheme Gets Lawyer 5 Years

Like Father, Like Son- Both Lawyers Plead Guilty to Federal Felonies

Lawyer Charged With Bribing Judge Invokes Client Privilege

Federal Judge Keeps Judicial Bribery Case Alive

Judge Told Good Ruling Would Get Him to Federal Bench

Respected Judge Pleads Guilty in Bribery Scheme

Federal Court Hearing Reveals Another Judge Bribed

Fancy Word for Court Corruption: "Earwigging"

Famous Lawyer Smacked Down in Bribery Case

Famed Judge Gets 18 Months for Lying to FBI


Not surprised said...

You have to love a nice judicial bribery case that involves a federal judge. A very nice example of how screwed up our "system of law" is!!

My favorite part is some scumbag telling a state judge that a good ruling would get him a seat on a federal bench.

Anonymous said...

Something's up here. Somebody wants something and they're willing to drag up this mess again to get what they want. I bet it has something to do with money.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping this was about how

"Westchester Braces for Onslaught of Federal Corruption Indictments"

or a follow-up on

"Westchester Keeping Feds Busy

Anthony Scarpino
Francis Nicolai"

Still waiting for some good news.

law school employee said...

I am proud of our judicial system.
It is overflowing with crooks and thieves.
The more the merrier, I say.

Anonymous said...

Keep Waiting...No good news coming.

Anonymous said...

These dudes are the big fish, do hope that someone nails them, but I fear this is just window dressing to make things look good for the regular folks

Anonymous said...

Now, we see how the scum of the State judiciary float up to the federal judiciary.

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