PAUL QUINN – “Peters’ immunity doesn’t prevent further investigation in other cases …”

“People wonder why we gave Peters immunity. Some people said it was because I was a prosecutor and so was he, but that’s the reason I’d most like to prosecute him,” Norman said. “Now we have to bite the bullet and honor our agreement.”

Peters was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against DeLaughter, who has acknowledged he discussed several times with Peters a case involving Scruggs. DeLaughter, who has resigned, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to an obstruction of justice charge for not telling the FBI about the conversations.

But that doesn’t mean Peters won’t be charged in other districts for his alleged wrongdoings in other cases DeLaughter heard, Mississippi College School of Law professor Matt Steffey said. “Many people are justly concerned that Mr. Peters and Mr. Peters alone escaped criminal liability.”

Norman said Peters offered his testimony in exchange for immunity, and prosecutors said they would ask the Department of Justice about granting it.

The deputy attorney general issued a letter of immunity to Peters, according to Norman. The Justice Department would not confirm or deny issuing such a letter but referred questions about the investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Oxford.

Neither Norman nor U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee would discuss specific detail. But Peters’ immunity doesn’t prevent further investigation in other cases, according to federal prosecutors.

Clarion-Ledger
8/17/09