Participants’ location hints at Scruggs grand jury

At least two cases could be in its focus, named by prosecutors:

– Scruggs I – The attempted bribery of Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City by Scruggs, law partner Sidney Backstrom, attorney Timothy Balducci and his business colleague Steven Patterson.

– Scruggs II – The alleged bribery of Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter of Hinds County by Scruggs, Balducci, Patterson, attorney Joey Langston of Booneville and former Hinds District Attorney Ed Peters.

U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Chrissie Allen declined to confirm or deny a grand jury is in session in the red-brick facility one block off the fabled Square.

But potential grand jury witnesses are nearby:

– Scruggs and Backstrom are both classified as “in transit” from their designated prisons. Both are housed in the Oxford-Lafayette County Detention Center, said Sheriff Buddy East. Backstrom had been serving his sentence in Forrest City, Ark., until last week.

– Balducci is in Monroe County and Patterson in New Albany, one day away from prison reports to Montgomery, Ala., and Estill, S.C., respectively.

– Langston is in Booneville; his report to Montgomery has been put off twice to keep him in the area.

– Zach Scruggs, Dickie’s son, lives in a Tupelo halfway house while he awaits release from his sentence for knowing about Scruggs I but failing to report it.

Grand jury deliberations are secret, but it’s likely Scruggs will lead the witness list. Feb. 10 in Aberdeen, he pleaded guilty to one count in the conspiracy to influence DeLaughter, on top of his Lackey guilty plea.

NE MS Daily Journal
3/24/9