Scruggs to appear in court next week

Whether anyone else has been indicted with Scruggs wasn’t known late Friday.

Friday afternoon, Larry Whitman, executive assistant at the Kentucky prison where 62-year-old Scruggs was being held, told The Associated Press he’s not at the facility.

Scruggs’ attorney did not immediately respond to messages.

Scruggs is serving a five-year sentence for his 2008 guilty plea to conspiring to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City for help with another legal-fees lawsuit, Jones v. Scruggs.

Sources close to the case speculated Friday that DeLaughter also may appear with Scruggs next week as a co-defendant in “Scruggs II.” Other U.S. District Court-watchers think Peters may not be indicted because of a plea deal to cooperate with prosecutors.

What happens to Balducci and Patterson in “Scruggs II” was not immediately clear.

They are scheduled to be sentenced Friday by U.S. District Senior Judge Neal Biggers Jr. in Oxford for their guilty pleas in the Lackey conspiracy case.

DeLaughter, suspended from the bench by the state Commission on Judicial Performance, has insisted he did nothing wrong.

When Scruggs and four others were indicted Nov. 28, 2007, he was perhaps the most famous trial lawyer in the country.

In the 1990s, he came to fame for winning hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits against tobacco companies, which led to a multibillion-dollar national settlement. He also was portrayed in the 1999 movie “The Insider,” which starred Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.

Langston, who was Scruggs’ attorney until Langston was caught in the DeLaughter scandal, recently was sentenced to three years in prison for his part in “Scruggs II,” but his prison report date was delayed while prosecutors completed their work in the case.

Langston also said DeLaughter was tempted with the offer of a federal judgeship. Last year, Balducci testified Scruggs asked his brother-in-law, then-U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, to help get it for DeLaughter, but Lott wound up recommending someone else.

Lott has not been charged with anything, and an aide described Lott’s contact with DeLaughter as just “a courtesy call.”

NE MS Daily Journal
2/7/9