The Sun Herald, 12/14/8

Joey Langston earned millions of dollars in civil lawsuits by persuading judges to rule in his favor. Now that he faces sentencing in a judicial bribery scandal, he just wants a judge to be lenient.

When Langston is sentenced Tuesday on a federal conspiracy charge, it will conclude a dramatic fall for the disbarred attorney who amassed a fortune and earned a reputation as a philanthropist who shared his wealth.

Prosecutors have recommended a three-year sentence, saying Langston helped in the investigation that toppled famed tobacco lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs. Judges aren’t bound by such recommendations.

Langston, 51, took over his father’s Booneville law office in 1986, just three years after graduating from law school, and built a national reputation in wrongful death, personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. He also forged strong political ties and was hired by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to sue companies on the state’s behalf.

Among the many people who wrote letters to U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills asking for leniency: U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, several law enforcement officers and officials from Langston’s hometown.