Defense lawyers in bribery case accuse government of “outrageous conduct”

In court papers filed Monday, defense attorneys asked a federal judge in Oxford, Miss., to dismiss the charges against the three lawyers, citing the government’s “outrageous conduct” in the case.

Defense lawyers claim investigators enlisted Lackey to “instigate the crime” and later concealed evidence that Scruggs and his associates weren’t involved in the alleged bribery scheme.

To support that argument, defense attorneys cite excerpts from wiretapped conversations between Lackey and attorney Timothy Balducci, who already has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in the case.

Scruggs’ lawyers say the taped conversations show that Lackey, acting as a “government agent,” solicited a $40,000 bribe from Balducci “in an unsuccessful attempt to create evidence of a crime.”

“This is the crux of the government’s outrageous conduct: blatantly manufacturing a crime where there was no evidence of a previously existing crime,” defense lawyers wrote.

The tapes also show Balducci repeatedly telling Lackey that Scruggs wasn’t involved and wouldn’t know about their conversations, according to defense lawyers.

“Yet, after eight months of efforts to find – and then create – evidence of a crime, the government was still left with only made-up conspiracies,” Scruggs’ lawyers wrote.

Sun Herald
2/11/8