Jan. 9, 2006: A special master appointed by Hinds County Circuit Court to evaluate the evidence in Wilson’s lawsuit made recommendations that largely sided with Wilson, leading his attorneys to seek $15 million in legal fees.
Jan. 24, 2006: DeLaughter accepts a “secret ex parte communication from the Scruggs legal team, essentially reversing his earlier ruling and accepting, almost verbatim, a scheduling order favorable to Scruggs,” the indictment says.
Feb. 27, 2006: DeLaughter secretly provides “the Scruggs legal team with an ex parte advance copy of a court order in the Wilson case by electronically mailing the same to Ed Peters,” the indictment says.
March 29, 2006: Dickie Scruggs caused his brother-in-law, U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, to “offer Judge DeLaughter consideration for appointment to a federal judgeship then open,” the indictment says.
Summer 2006: DeLaughter rejects the special master’s recommendations, concluding Scruggs owes Wilson nothing more than the $1.5 million he’d made in belated payments.
December 2007: After uncovering a judicial bribery scheme in an unrelated legal fees dispute involving Scruggs, Peters begins to cooperate with federal authorities.
Jan. 11, 2008: Langston pleads guilty to influencing DeLaughter and is later sentenced to three years in prison.
March 19, 2008: The state Commission on Judicial Performance asks the state Supreme Court to temporarily suspend DeLaughter from the bench pending a review of two complaints accusing him of “willful misconduct in office” because of his ruling in the Wilson case and another case in which Peters was an attorney.