The Defense motion to dismiss the indictment had what I described as clever arguments, but I thought went off the cliff trying to argue that no one would attach any value to a call from a United States Senator that they were being considered for a position on the federal bench. Thus, the argument went, DeLaughter could not be said to have been bribed directly because he wasn’t offered anything of value. On this point, their reply simply ups the rhetoric– they say even more forcefully that consideration for the federal bench is valueless.
The second possible bribe– the money to Peters– doesn’t count, argued DeLaughter, because there was no allegation DeLaughter knew about that money. The Government argued that DeLaughter had to know about the arrangement, because of his relationship with Peters and because of prior cases where they had worked similar arrangements. And they asserted that consideration for the federal bench does have value.
DeLaughter has now replied, in a pleading I posted yesterday with a promise of more comment later. His lawyers begin by framing what they say is “remaining in dispute” given the government response: 1) Whether the indictment alleges DeLaughter agreed to accept a thing of value; 2) whether the mailing of court document can be the basis of a mail fraud charge, and 3) whether the statutes (if they reach Judge DeLaughter’s conduct) are void for vagueness.