Scruggs scheduled to go before federal judge - - Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS 02/06/2009

Scruggs scheduled to go before federal judge

By Julie Straw - bio | email

Jackson, MS (WLBT) - On Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. disbarred attorney Richard "Dickie" Shrugs will appear before U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson in Aberdeen.

"The talk is that he is presumably going to enter a plea in the criminal case involving an allegation that there was an attempt to bribe Judge Bobby DeLaughter," said Matt Steffey, a professor at Mississippi College School of Law.

Last March Scruggs pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe Judge Henry Lackey in a legal dispute over $26.5 million in legal fees.  He's serving five years in prison for that crime, but Scruggs' name has also been linked to another judicial bribery scheme, one allegedly involving Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

More than a year ago attorney Joey Langston pleaded guilty to conspiring to corruptly influence Judge DeLaughter on Scruggs behalf.  Langston claims Scruggs allegedly paid attorney Ed Peters a million dollars to influence the judge's rulings in a dispute over millions in legal fees over asbestos litigations.  In return, Judge DeLaughter would be appointed to the federal bench. 

Peters has presented his resignation to the Mississippi State Bar Association.  Plus, former state auditor Steve Patterson pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a state judge.

"If they are all pointing the finger at Judge DeLaughter and Judge DeLaughter is the one left standing, the one at the trial, at the defendants table by himself, that can be a very lonely place," said Steffey.

Judge Bobby DeLaughter has maintained his innocence.  The judge has been suspended of his duties since March.

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