Posted on April 13, 2009 by Thomas Withers
Government Strikes Back in Mississippi Judicial Corruption Case
Last Thursday, the government filed its response to Judge Delaughterâ€™s Motion to Dismiss in the Mississippi judicial corruption case related to Dickie Scruggsâ€™ criminal antics. As I had noted last year, I was not impressed with the work of Scruggsâ€™ legal team in its attacks brought against the governmentâ€™s ultimately successful case, and, quite frankly, Iâ€™m not impressed with the papers filed by Judge Delaughterâ€™s crew here, either. As noted, they had filed a motion to dismiss the indictment alleging, among other things that .
â€¢Judge Delaughter accepted a secret, ex parte communication from the Scruggs legal team, essentially reversing his earlier ruling, and accepting, almost verbatim, a scheduling order favorable to Scruggs;
â€¢Judge Delaughter secretly provided the Scruggs legal team with an ex parte advance copy of a court order in the Wilson case by electronically mailing the same to Ed Peters, an attorney who had not made an appearance in the case, but who ultimately was paid$1,000,000 for the services rendered for his ex parte contacts with Judge Delaughter;
â€¢From August 2005 to August 2006 Peters had a number of ex parte meetings with Judge Delaughter designed to influence the judge to shade his ruling in favor of Scruggs;
â€¢During that same time frame Judge Delaughter secretly communicated with the Scruggs legal team through Peters.
Delaughterâ€™s attorneys filed a couple of motions to dismiss, the most notable of which was the motion to dismiss the honest services mail fraud counts, alleging that the government: 1) failed to allege a state law violation as required by the Brumley Fifth Circuit precedent (interestingly, the govenment did not respond to this argument), 2) failed to allege bribery or material nondisclosure, 3) the mailings were required by state law, and 4) the honest services statute is void for vagueness as applied.
I continue to be impressed with the concise written word coming out of the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Mississippi. The government responds that in causing a federal judicial judgeship â€œto be dangled in front of Judge Delaughterâ€ his hunger for that judgeship clouded his judgment, caused him to rule in favor of Scruggs and through his relationship with Peters, Delaughter knew or should have known that Peters was not working for free. Ominously, the government portends that more bad news for Delaughter is on the horizon, stating that other similar acts will be offered at trial pursuant to Rule 404(b) to show that Wilson v. Scruggs was not the first case in which Ed Peters appeared, ex parte, to secretly influence the judge on behalf of one litigant without the knowledge of opposing counsel. My prediction â€“ this motion to dismiss will be denied. Judge Delaughter has some difficult days ahead.
April 13, 2011
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal prison official says former Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter, who had been serving prison time in the corruption case, is now on home confinement.
Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Bureau of Federal Prisons, tells WAPT-TV that DeLaughter has been released from a transitional facility.
Burke tells WAPT DeLaughter will remain in home confinement until his release date, which is April 23. Burke says DeLaughter cannot leave the house, which is approved by the agency, until he receives prison authorization.
Burke says the agency doesn't release locations of home confined prisoners.
DeLaughter pleaded guilty in 2009 to obstruction of justice in a corruption investigation involving multimillionaire and former lawyer Dickie Scruggs. He admitted lying to an FBI agent during the investigation.
Information from: WAPT-TV, http://www.wapt.com