Tale of corruption, greed might not be over

“The system needs purging,” said Clarksdale lawyer Charlie Merkel, lead counsel for one of Scruggs’ former law partners, Bob Wilson. “I would hope any leads developed through Scruggs’ cooperation that implicate other public officials or others who tried to influence public officials will be followed up and prosecuted to the fullest.”

Scruggs was sentenced to seven years in prison for taking part in a scheme to influence Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter, who heard a legal-fees dispute between Wilson and Scruggs in 2006. DeLaughter ruled largely in Scruggs’ favor, reportedly in exchange for being considered for a federal judgeship.

Scruggs originally was charged with the wrongdoing in a still-sealed indictment, and prosecutors said Tuesday that others are named in that indictment.

DeLaughter is among those who could be named in the indictment. He has insisted he is innocent, saying he followed the law.

Because of his continuing cooperation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Norman asked that Scruggs be moved from the federal prison in Ashland, Ky., to one much closer so that prosecutors can talk more readily to him. Scruggs’ lead counsel, John Keker of San Francisco, asked U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson to recommend the prison in Forrest City, Ark., because of its proximity.

Jerry Mitchell
Clarion Ledger
2/11/9