Hearing gives insight into judge’s involvement in Scruggs bribery case

In testimony last Wednesday, Balducci said he first went to Lackey to talk with him about the case involving the Scruggs law firm. He told the judge he thought the case should go to arbitration, which is what Scruggs wanted.

Lackey felt uncomfortable with the discussion.

“He knew something improper had happened,” Delaney said. “He just didn’t know if it was illegal or not.”

He agreed to help the government find out. He began wearing a wire and recording phone conversations with Balducci from May through September.

Yet even six months after their first conversation, Delaney said Lackey still wasn’t sure there had been a crime. So he finally forced the issue and asked the question. Would Scruggs be willing to pay him to rule in his favor in a dispute over $26.5 million in Hurricane Katrina settlement attorneys fees?

“It took Judge Lackey all summer, from my perspective, to get this thing resolved,” Delaney said. “And to get this thing resolved, he decided he had to ask that question.”

Sun Herald
2/23/8