Jerry Mitchell’s story hints DeLaughter’s polygraph motion is a long shot

In a motion filed Friday, DeLaughter’s attorneys are asking that jurors in DeLaughter’s Aug. 17 federal corruption trial in Oxford be allowed to see that test in which DeLaughter said his former boss, one-time District Attorney Ed Peters, who was secretly working for Scruggs, never influenced him.

“The judge has some discretion to introduce the polygraph test, but I think it faces an uphill battle, particularly one administered privately,” said Matt Steffey, professor at the Mississippi College School of Law. “It’s a very long shot.”

DeLaughter’s attorneys say the case against their client depends almost entirely upon the testimony of Peters, “who brings more baggage to the table than any 10 traditional government witnesses … (and) according to the press, a rather perennial target of federal corruption investigations.

“In this instance, Peters astonishingly admits to receiving $1 million from Dickie Scruggs and his lawyers primarily to make sure that Judge DeLaughter is not ‘out-influenced’ by one of Wilson’s lawyers, Bill Kirksey, a former law partner of Judge DeLaughter. Not one red cent of Peters’ million dollars was passed, or even offered, to Judge DeLaughter. Nevertheless, Peters is given transactional immunity from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in exchange for his testimony against DeLaughter.”

Contacted for comment, Kirksey replied, “Anybody who knew Bobby and my relationship after he became a prosecutor and a judge knows that he never did me any favors and that we had many clashes in the courtroom.”

DeLaughter’s attorneys also are seeking the inspection of grand jury minutes, citing “prejudicial articles” in The Clarion-Ledger, including a report on the recent deposition of Balducci in the unrelated civil lawsuit of Eaton v. Frisby. DeLaughter was the original judge in that case, and Eaton hired Peters.

DeLaughter’s attorney, Thomas Durkin of Chicago, would not comment on the filings.

“I disagree with what the defense filed, but obviously I’m going to do my response in writing,” Norman said. He would not comment further.

Jerry Mitchell