Judge Biggers points out that Zach Scrugg’s participation in discussing the order from Judge Lackey that Balducci brought with him and discussed in the wiretap transcripts with Backstrom, Zach Scruggs and then Dick Scruggs, is obvious participation in the “conspiracy.” He doesn’t allude to the bribery, but he does point out that editing a Judge’s order does not fall under simply being aware that “earwigging” is going on and that it was obvious that Zach Scruggs had to participate further.
Mike Moore couldn’t seem to keep quiet and apparently thought Biggers was alluding that Zach Scruggs was a party to the bribery when Biggers simply was stating what he heard from the tapes. It seemed that Mike Moore wanted to stretch credulity once he saw the writing on the wall.
from the sentencing transcript:
THE COURT :The evidence in this case shows that you were fully aware of this corruption – – attempted corruption of Judge Lackey. You took that order that Balducci brought up to your law office that – – the corrupt order that was attempted to be bought from Judge Lackey. And you made comments on it. You said where commas should be and what things should be said about it, what the order should say.
And based on some of those tapes that you – – that were played at the request of your attorney – – or your father’ s attorney, Mr. Keker, and which I heard because they were produced, I just – – it was just clear that you not only knew what was going on, you were participating in what was going on. You helped write that order.
You shake your head, Mr. Moore; but I heard the tapes. He wrote – – he suggested what should be in that order, that corrupted order. Have you heard that?
MR . MOORE : Judge, I’ve listened to every tape, interviewed every witness.
THE COURT : Well, then, you’ve heard that if you’ve listened to every tape.
MR . MOORE : I did Judge – –
THE COURT : He commented on it.
MR . MOORE : – – and I hope I get a chance to respond.
THE COURT : Well, you’ve had your chance to respond. Well, you can respond to that; you can respond to that. Go ahead.
MR . MOORE : Thank you, Your Honor. Zach Scruggs never had any knowledge whatsoever that there was any conspiracy to bribe a judge in this case. Zach Scruggs, on March 28th, was at a meeting about a – –
THE COURT : He’ s not being sentenced for conspiracy to bribe a judge.
MR . MOORE : I understand, Judge.
THE COURT : He’ s being sentenced for misprision of a felony. But the underlying offense is the corruption of Judge Lackey. He knew that Judge Lackey was being corrupted, and he had an order there that he was looking at that was part of – – that was an order that was being bought from Judge Lackey – – or being taken – – persuaded – – at the very least, that he – – you’re saying he knew – – that I know he knew – – was that this order was the result of a corruption or attempted corruption of Judge Lackey.
MR . MOORE : Right. Your Honor, I – –
THE COURT : And whether it was for money or whatever else is really immaterial; it was a corrupt order.
MR . MOORE : The only difference – – and I don’ t want to offend the Court. But the only difference is, is that the only thing Zach knew was that Tim Balducci went to have a conversation with Judge Lackey. He never knew that anybody conspired to bribe a judge or to do something untoward.
The tape that you’re talking about is a tape that occurred after Tim Balducci came to the Scruggs Law Firm on November the 1st, wired up, wearing a wire, walked up the stairs, saying he was there to meet with two individuals, Sid Backstrom and Dick Scruggs. Zach Scruggs, all the evidence would show, happened to walk in the room that day. He was never a part of that. And that’ s the only evidence the Government ever had in this case. And that may be a distinction without a difference in Your Honor’ s mind, but it’s a distinction in Zach’ s mind.
THE COURT : Well, that’s something you can argue. Whether or not that’s true remains open. He hasn’t pled guilty to being part of the bribery. And he’ s not being sentenced for part of the bribery.
You know, when Mr. Backstrom – – who’ s admitted he was part of the bribe – – and your client are as close as they were, they’re up there in that office every day talking about their – – the legal projects of the firm – – and it’ s hard to – – it’ s kind of a stretch of credulity to believe that Backstrom never mentioned that money was being sent down to Judge Lackey. You can claim that; you can argue that. And as far as the law is concerned, I ‘ m going to base the sentence on that. But whether or not I believe that is something else.
MR . MOORE : One thing I ‘ d say, Judge, is – – and I know you’ve listened to some of the tapes, but I’ve listened to all of them. And if the Government has a different view, they can say it. With all of the conversations, hundreds of conversations, that were wiretapped and taped, there’s no mention of Zach Scruggs in this case anywhere. He just – –
THE COURT : I understand all of that. That’ s not part of this hearing.
What do you say, Mr. Dawson?
MR . DAWSON : I’d have to disagree with that statement. Mr. Scruggs – – Zach Scruggs is mentioned on some of the tapes.
THE COURT : That was my recollection also. And another thing that impressed me negatively about this, frankly, is that when you, Mr. Scruggs, and Mr. Backstrom were talking with Mr. Balducci over this order that he had brought to you before it had been entered by Judge Lackey, it was an order that you were commenting on how it should read and what it should say – – and you’ve told me that you have a great respect and love for the legal field, for the legal profession. And I’m – – I’m not questioning that.
But you certainly had no great respect for the Circuit Court of Lafayette County or Judge Lackey, because the tapes show that you told Mr. Balducci and Mr. Backstrom that we need to hurry up and get this order signed before some other asshole gets the case. Now, that’ s a total thumb in your nose at the Lafayette County Circuit Court. And it contradicts your statement to the Court that you have a great love and respect for the legal profession.