Judge Lackey spilled the beans; Cal Mayo provided the context

Judge Lackey took the stand at the hearing on Jones v Scruggs in Oxford today – the Oxford Eagle tells the story in part:

Tollison questioned Scruggs for about 15 minutes, but he never answered a single question with anything other than taking the 5th.

After Scruggs, Lackey took the stand and spoke about the bribe conspiracy for the first time in public.

Lackey said Timothy Balducci approached him in March 2007 about the Jones V. Scruggs case and offered Lackey a place in his firm. Concerned about his behavior, Lackey said he contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office who began surveillance on Balducci’s and Lackey’s phone conversations. It took until the fall of 2007 for money to be brought up.

Tollison asked Lackey why it took so long for the issue of money to be discussed. “I was having some serious difficulty,” Lackey said. “I just couldn’t bring myself to say, ‘Bring me some money and I’ll do this.’ But ultimately, I did.”

“Who suggested that?” Tollison asked.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office had been listening to the conversation. They were convinced, much more than I, that this was what their intent was. I hoped upon hope that wasn’t going to happen. I had just hoped Tim would have said, ‘Judge you misunderstood me. I’m sorry — just forget what I said.’”

If not that, what was it Balducci saying when he made this remark?

It would break my heart if I thought I had, had put you in a bad position…that’s why I said, you know, do what your heart tells you?

Notes from a blogger attending the hearing provided the Summary of Cal Mayo, the attorney representing Dickie Scruggs in Jones v Scruggs.

Mayo: Richard Scruggs, his son, and Backstrom have already accepted responsibility for their conduct. They have plead guilty to their charges. … They will pay for their decisions they made for a very long time.

Without dispute a serious ethical lapse occurred in March of last year but certainly no intent to bribe a judge. No intent to engage in criminal conduct. It was wrong but not criminal. It was the federal government’s intent to pull the matter further along. There was no quid pro quo no offer to pay money. Not until the demand for money that criminal conduct occurred. Even with that there was no evidence Scruggs knew anything about it.

Judge: How do you account for the statements in the guilty pleas that a meeting took place in March where Mr. Scruggs was involved.

Mayo: question was whether there was an effort in March to corruptly influence Judge Lackey. Pleas: That there was a conspiracy later on. Mr. Scruggs said he joined the conspiracy later on. Nothing shows intent to commit a crime back in March. Judge Lackey’s testimony puts it in clear context. An ethical lapse clearly. Only in September that Judge Lackey made a request for the money.

Judge: You are arguing entrapment are you not.

Mayo: Not arguing that, not the criminal case, trying to put this back in context.

We’ll be writing more about Jones v Scruggs – Judge Coleman will rule tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “Judge Lackey spilled the beans; Cal Mayo provided the context”

  1. Gosh, belle, I don’t know what you call it when you testify there was no quid pro quo, just your perception – and then you tell the person you’re in a bind and need money to see if they’ll give it to you.

    I don’t know if I’m more shocked by what Lackey said or the fact that some think he was impressive today.

  2. I remember a day or so after the verdicts were announced the Sun Herald ran a story on local reaction and some of Mr Scruggs family expressed that sentiment. They were derided as out of touch with reality but as yesterday’s testimony illustrates it is not quite so cut and dried or simple as the commentary elsewhere implied.

    In saying that I’m not excusing what Mr Scruggs, his son or Mr Backstrum did – the guilty pleas tell that tale. However, as Bellesouth and Nowdy have consistently said there is a whole bunch more to this story than has been discussed and we welcome those viewpoints here. Welcome to slabbed Duesouth.


  3. Adding my welcome to slabbed, too, Duesouth. II hope you’ll continue to comment. IMHO there are many who would like to speak out that have seen others who did subjected to ridicule – that won’t happen here.

    It’s important for both sides of any story to be heard – insurance, Scruggs, the Rigsby sisters, and all of the others out there…and not just the big sensational stories either. I see the Gulfport library getting a lot of attention in the Sun Herald because, as Sop said, four determined women spoke out.

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