Balducci was the first witness called in a hearing, which could last all week, court observers said shortly before it began at 10 a.m.
Today’s hearing is aimed at allowing Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers to hear evidence and arguments about whether Zach Scruggs knew about a conspiracy to imperly influence Circuit Judge Henry Lackey, who presided over a Katrina legal-fees lawsuit against The Scruggs Katrina Group and others.
Scruggs, 37 today, was indicted in November 2007 for the conspiracy, along with his famous lawyer father, Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, law partner Sidney Backstrom, New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci and former state auditor Steven Patterson.
All but Zach Scruggs cut deals with prosecutors for leniency and each pleaded guilty to one count. They all went to prison, with Dickie Scruggs still serving time.