Former Hinds district attorney Edward J. Peters is formally accused of conspiring to corrupt a sitting Mississippi circuit judge in a U.S. District Court document filed Dec. 31, the Daily Journal has learned.
The document came to light Tuesday in a records search about an order to get at $425,000 from alleged illegal wire transfers from Joey Langston of Booneville to Peters.
The order to “arrest” the money, filed about 5:22 p.m., is U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander’s response to a Dec. 31 document explaining why U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee wants to obtain the money.
This document appears to be the first public federal accusation of Peters in a scheme to bribe Hinds Judge Bobby DeLaughter.
However, no charges against Peters are public yet, although it’s been widely speculated he is part of what investigators call “Scruggs II,” a plot to bribe DeLaughter with the promise of a federal judgeship, if he helped former Oxford attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and others with a legal fees lawsuit – Wilson v. Scruggs.
Peters repeatedly has not returned calls for comment.
The complaint asking forfeiture of the money says it was seized from Peters and is in the custory of the U.S. Marshals Service in the Seized Asset Deposit Fund Account at the Federal Reserve Bank.
Here’s where the information becomes public about Peters.
The December document states under the heading “Facts”:
• Peters “was a member of a conspiracy to corruptly influence a sitting State of Mississippi Circuit Court judge.”
• He was approached by Timothy Balducci, Steve Patterson and Joey Langston to agree to pay Peters to help get a favorable ruling on a Hinds County case.
• They agreed to pay Peters $50,000 in cash as an initial payment for his services.
• Eventually, they agreed Langston would pay Peters through wire transfers from Booneville totaling $950,000 into Peters’ Jackson bank account.
The $425,000 the U.S. Attorney’s Office wants is what’s left of that $1 million after deductions for federal income taxes “and losses incurred as a result of recent stock market conditions.”
“Each wire transfer made by Langston to Peters constitutes a violation of 18 USC Section 1343,” wire fraud, the document notes.
NE MS Daily Journal