Judge Biggers’s opinion on Zach Scruggs’s summary judgment confirms what was seeming to be the big issues for the upcoming hearing, and focuses those issues. It also confirms some of my guesses about the petition, some of those guesses going back to the beginning.
Recall that the original indictment’s counts had to basis theories of liability: ”Federal program” bribery and “honest services” fraud. Federal program bribery is a charge that someone involved in administering a federal program was bribed. The theory was that, because Judge Lackey’s court received administrative funds from the federal government, bribing him counted as federal program bribery. In the Whifield (and Paul Minor) case, the Fifth Circuit held that the federal funds had to relate to the decision that was the subject of the bribe for federal program bribery. It made pretty clear that Mississippi judicial decisions could not be the subject of federal program bribery prosecutions.