Balducci, Patterson each get two years in prison in bribe scheme

Leniency was key to 24-month prison sentences Friday for judicial bribery co-defendants Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson.

It was Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr.’s first “slack” shown in the federal case, which has scandalized the legal profession and public, and brought down one of America’s best-known attorneys, Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Oxford.

The two men, who lived and worked together in New Albany when they were indicted Nov. 28, 2007, were the last co-defendants of the conspiracy known as Scruggs I. They, Scruggs, his lawyer son Zach and a law partner pleaded guilty to varying levels of crime associated with the attempted bribery of Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City in the spring of 2007.

It’s also clear the investigation isn’t over into legal misdeeds, despite this week’s second guilty plea by Scruggs and indictment of Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

Thursday, DeLaughter pleaded not guilty to a five-count accusation he was part of a judicial bribery scheme to rule for Scruggs in the legal-fees lawsuit Wilson v. Scruggs.

Scruggs, his son and former partner are serving prison sentences, although as of Friday, Scruggs was still housed in the Lafayette County Jail.

Prison report dates for Balducci and Patterson were set for March 25 so they can be available to testify before a grand jury, Biggers agreed.

NE MS Daily Journal
2/14/9