Scruggs Faces Five — Too Much, Too Little, or Just Right?

Was the evidence against Scruggs & Son so strong that Dickie didn’t have the leverage to get his son sprung?

“All we can tell from the fact that he plead and his son didn’t was that there was no such deal struck,” Daniel R. Alonso, a white-collar litigator at Kaye Scholer, told the Law Blog. “The government felt it had a strong enough case that there was no advantage to offering such a deal. The government likely believes they were both guilty and that both should be held accountable.” (The plea deadline for Zach is Monday. His lawyer hasn’t responded to a Journal request for comment.)

Alonso, a former EDNY prosecutor, added that judicial bribery cases are notoriously difficult to make, and that it’s rare to see such strong evidence in a bribery case. “We like to think they’re not as common, but when there is a corrupt judge or party, it’s often pretty hard to get solid evidence because of the secrecy involved,” said Alonso. “Often they’ll use intermediaries so they can claim plausible deniability, or the corrupt judge will have a loyal lieutenant who won’t talk. Usually, you need either a cooperator inside, a tape recording, or solid documentary evidence. In this case, they had a cooperating judge” — Judge Henry Lackey. “From all I can see, it looks like the government did a great job.”

WSJ Law Blog
3/14/8