Former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was the first person on the witness stand Monday in day one of a hearing at which former trial attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Oxford is hoping to convince a federal judge to vacate his sentence and conviction in a judicial bribery case that involved former circuit court judge Bobby DeLaughter. (March 27, 2012, Page 1)
After the break for lunch at 11:45 p.m., former state auditor Stephen Patterson took the stand. He recounted that it was his idea to pay retired Hinds County prosecutor Ed Peters $50,000 to influence his long-time friend, Judge DeLaughter. Patterson said Scruggs was never a part of any meetings he had with Peters and his attorney Joey Langston or Tim Balducci, Langston’s then-law partner. Patterson said he felt the call to Sen. Trent Lott by Scruggs was unnecessary. “Why buy the cow when you have the milk?” he stated in court. “Everyone knew (DeLaughter) wanted a federal judge seat already.”
Ed Peters was called as a witness for Scruggs, however, due to his advanced age and hearing loss, both sides agreed to allow his previous FBI testimony and grand jury testimony be allowed to be submitted to the court.
Langston is expected to take the stand when court convenes at 9 a.m. Tuesday. (March 26, 2012)
Opening statements began at 10 a.m. this morning at the Federal Courthouse in Oxford in the case of Richard “Dickie” Scruggs v. USA. Scruggs, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence in prison for two judicial bribery cases, is seeking to vacate the second of those convictions.
Scruggs is claiming he is actually innocent of the charge he pleaded guilty to before Senior Judge Glen Davidson three years ago based on a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in the case U.S. v. Skilling.
Prosecutors say Scruggs used his relationship with retired Sen. Trent Lott to influence then-Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter for favorable rulings in a lawsuit against him.
Prosecutor Bob Norman stated “DeLaughter had two weaknesses, one being his relationship with his mentor and friend, Ed Peters and the other his thirst for becoming a federal judge.”
Lott testified for about an hour this morning. He told the court he did in fact call DeLaughter after Scruggs had contacted him and asked Lott to call DeLaughter to explain the process of how a federal court judgeship is appointed. However, Lott said he never told DeLaughter he was under consideration for the position and only explained the process to him. Lott also testified that Scruggs never asked him to consider DeLaughter and that he was never aware that Scruggs had a case before DeLaughter at the time.
Davidson broke for lunch at 11:45. Testimony will continue at 1:15 this afternoon.
(March 26, 2012)
Both sides rested this afternoon in the evidentiary hearing against fallen attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, who is asking the court to overturn his conviction of a 2009 judicial bribery case involving former circuit court judge Bobby DeLaughter.
Read more details here. (March 26, 2012)
Oxford-Lafayette Habitat for Humanity is building a new home for Nakia Carrothers and her two children in the Brittany Woods subdivision. (March 26, 2012, Page 1)
Fallen former attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs will ask a federal judge Monday to vacate his conviction and the seven-year sentence he received in 2009 after pleading guilty to trying to influence a circuit court judge. (March 23, 2012, Page 1A)
An interior designer recommended $400K worth of changes and upgrades for the Oxford Conference Center Thursday to the Oxford Tourism Council. Designer Courtney Jones said the changes do not have to be made all at once and the first change she recommended is getting new chairs for the center. (March 23, 2012, Page 1A)
EAGLE photographer Bruce Newman has had the opportunity to capture several well-known authors while they have visited Oxford. See his photos and read more on the Conference of the Book this weekend in today’s Oxford Living section. (March 23, 2012, Page 1B)
The success of the Double Decker Arts Festival has lead organizers to make some changes this year. While some changes are minor, one change that has some people concerned was not allowing nonprofits and churches from selling food at the festival. (March 22, 2012, Page 1)
Mayor Pat Patterson and UM Chancellor Dan Jones spoke about issues that affect both entities during a meeting recently with University of Mississippi retirees. (March 22, 2012, Page 2)