Yet, Durkin does raise a valid question, one that has troubled us as well during the prosecution of DeLaughter.
Why has Ed Peters, who was hired by Scruggs and his friends to try to bribe DeLaughter, gotten off so lightly?
It was Peters who federal prosecutors say dangled the poisoned fruit — a lifetime judicial appointment in exchange for a favorable ruling in a multimillion-dollar dispute over legal fees — in front of DeLaughter. It was Peters who was the go-between, ferrying messages and documents between the judge and the Scruggs team. Yet, the former Hinds County district attorney has been able to skirt prosecution by turning on his onetime protegé. Peters’ only penalty, other than losing his law license, was giving back what was left of the $1 million the Scruggs team had paid him.
“I find it rather odd that the man who got $1 million is out fishing, and Bobby DeLaughter is going to prison,” Durkin said.
“At least in Chicago we chase the money.”
So have federal prosecutors in Mississippi, except when it comes to Peters. So far, six plaintiffs’ attorneys, two state judges and a former state auditor have drawn prison time in three judicial bribery cases — some of them for misdeeds that were a lot less culpable than Peters’.
Why did he get such a sweet deal?
That’s a question the feds have yet to answer.