Zach Scruggs appeals to 5th Circuit

OXFORD, Miss. — A well-known Mississippi lawyer is asking a federal appeals court to throw out his 2008 conviction and sentence.

Attorneys for Zach Scruggs asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to hear arguments in the case, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Scruggs pleaded guilty to knowing about — but not reporting — illegal contacts with a judge. Since his release from prison in 2010, he has insisted on his innocence, saying he was coerced into pleading guilty.

The case involved an attempt to bribe a Mississippi judge. In attempting to get the conviction thrown out, Scruggs said he only knew of an attempt to influence the judge, not bribery. In August U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers denied a motion to vacate the conviction.