The Mess In Mississippi: Patterson Agrees to Plead Guilty

Patterson was indicted along with Dickie Scruggs and four others in November for allegedly conspiring to bribe Mississippi judge Henry Lackey last year in a legal-fee dispute involving proceeds from Hurricane Katrina-related litigation. Scruggs has pleaded not guilty in that case, as have two others. A fifth person, Timothy Balducci last month agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to bribe Judge Lackey. As part of his deal, according to court papers, Balducci is cooperating with federal authorities.

A handwritten note on the plea agreement also states that prosecutors agree to take the position that Patterson was a “minor participant” compared to other defendants in the case. Patterson (not a lawyer), is a former Democratic pol in Mississippi who helped found Patterson Balducci, a law firm in New Albany, Miss., along with Tim Balducci. After a kerfuffle over Patterson being a name partner though he lacked a law license, Patterson’s name came off the door.

WSJ Law Blog
1/14/8