The Clarion-Ledger, 2/12/9

The former prosecutor who made a worldwide name for himself for putting Klansman Byron De La Beckwith behind bars will be in court today, accused of ruling in favor of the former lawyer once called Mississippi’s “king of torts.”

Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter is slated to appear in federal court in Oxford on a charge he was influenced to rule in favor of former high-profile lawyer Dickie Scruggs, who was sentenced this week to seven years in prison in the case.

DeLaughter has maintained his innocence, saying he followed the law in ruling largely in Scruggs’ favor in a legal-fees lawsuit brought by Scruggs’ former law partner, Bob Wilson.

“He’s a longtime public servant known by both sides of the aisle as a fair-minded and hard-working judge,” said Matt Steffey, professor at Mississippi College School of Law. “To see him caught up in this seems out of character.”