fter Langston was convicted in the judge-bribing scandal, hundreds of letters poured in from his family and friends asking that he be granted leniency in sentencing. Among them was a letter from the congressman then representing Mississippi’s first district, Travis Childers.
“I suppose many will say that Joey somehow lost his way,” Childers wrote to District Court judge Mike Mills. “I disagree. No one in my forty nine years in Prentiss County has had greater impact on so many people that I personally know than Joey Langston. He has been a friend to all and an enemy to none. His heart is bigger than our entire county.” Childers went on to say he wished “every town and county in America had someone like Joey Langston.”
Langston’s fall from fortune was swift: He was disbarred, sentenced to three years in prison, and fined the maximum penalty, $250,000. Judge Mills may have turned a deaf ear to Childers and the rest of Langston’s supporters, but the Langston family, it appears, has not forgotten. If donations to Childers’s campaign are any guide, they’re finally repaying the favor.
Langston’s wife, Tracie, and his three children, Keaton, Colby, and Kane, have each donated the maximum $5,200 to the Childers campaign. Casey Langston Lott, Langston’s nephew, and his wife have also donated the $5,200 maximum, adding up to a total of $31,200 from Langston relatives. (Joey Langston himself has not donated.)
Before Langston’s conviction, he and his wife were long involved in politics, mostly but not exclusively on the Democratic side. They contributed thousands over the years to Washington senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, former Tennessee representative Harold Ford Jr., South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, and former Senate majority leader Trent Lott. Tracie was also a contributor to Joe Biden’s 2007 presidential campaign, and Scruggs and his friends hosted fundraisers in Oxford, Miss., for Biden, reportedly betting that he would not become president but secretary of state. When the scandal broke, the Wall Street Journal reported that all of the Biden donations tied to Scruggs were donated to charity.
The help of the Langston family has been instrumental to the nascent Childers campaign, accounting for three-quarters of his individual donations and over 60 percent of his total cash on hand.