Here’s some of the problems I see:
That lie to the F.B.I.
Yes, it’s only an allegation at this point, but the last count of the indictment charges that Judge DeLaughter told the FBI that he “never spoke to Ed Peters regarding…” substantive issues about Wilson v. Scruggs. Perhaps Judge DeLaughter thinks he can get into a semantic debate about what “substantive” means, but it’s clear that there will be testimony that he and Peters exchanged information, ultimately resulting in Scruggs’s team getting a chance to secretly edit opinions before DeLaughter issued them. There will also be testimony about meetings between the two to plan how hearings were to be handled. This is all going to be hard to explain away, particularly with a parade of pretty smart witnesses now testifying for the Government describing how it was done, and their testimony being corroborated by document exchanges. But that’s hardly the worst of it.
That lie to the FBI pretty much ruins any attempt to say “it was all innocent talk.” The word for some time has been that Judge DeLaughter was going to try to explain that he didn’t really have evil intent, that he didn’t have the state of mind of being corrupted. The Government is going to be able to make a very strong argument that his lie meant he knew he had something to cover up. He knew it wasn’t innocent, or he wouldn’t have lied about it.