Scruggs pledges continued cooperation – rising above the small

“When I stood before Judge Biggers, I made a promise to him that I would try to be a better man. I spent a lot of time thinking about that pledge under circumstances few in this courtroom can imagine. I hope that what I am doing today is a major step toward redeeming that pledge. … I apologized to bench and bar for this sordid business.”

Sources in the courtroom report Scruggs stated his intention to fully cooperate; renewed his pledge to Judge Biggers; and thanked people, particularly in Oxford and the coast for their prayers for his family. h/t NMC

Until Sop or I have time to write more, take Scruggs’ words with you and use them as a yardstick for measuring the justice in headlines, news stories, blog posts  and comments.

Jim Brown was very kind to send Slabbed an autographed copy of his book

jim-brown-justice-deniedIn criminal cases involving the federal government the King is well, the King as Nowdy pointed out in her post today recapping the ongoing Scruggs saga. My personal experience is that those who wield the awesome power vested to the office of United States Attorney readily acknowledge the related awesome responsibility to use it wisely and not indict the proverbial ham sandwich for kicks. Unfortunately US Attorneys are human beings and sometimes make mistakes and one biggie in more recent times robbed Louisiana of a committed and balanced insurance commissioner.

As Louisiana Insurance Commissioner, Jim was very committed to public outreach and I well remember him several times as a guest on NOLA talk radio stimulating conversation with the everyday people who elected him and referring their problems to people within the Louisiana DOI that could actually cut through the red tape. More recently Nowdy and I have gotten to know Jim better via email and have found him an excellent resource for information and feedback. It has been our honor to feature his weekly column on occasion here on Slabbed. Continue reading “Jim Brown was very kind to send Slabbed an autographed copy of his book”

Breaking: Allstate Confirms Default of Willow Re Cat Bonds

Time is very short. I’ll update this post with further analysis later.

We’ll begin with this story via Reuters:

A catastrophe bond sold by U.S. insurer Allstate Corp (ALL.N) is in default after special purpose vehicle Willow Re failed to make in full an interest payment that fell due last week.

The transaction is among four catastrophe bonds guaranteed by a unit of Lehman Brothers that were downgraded by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s following the U.S. investment bank’s Sept. 15 bankruptcy filing.

Allstate confirmed late on Monday that Willow Re had not made the payment, due Feb. 2, within the five-day grace period. Continue reading “Breaking: Allstate Confirms Default of Willow Re Cat Bonds”

Dick Scruggs and the Plea Tree for Scruggs II

Here in Mississippi it’s known as Scruggs II.  Today is the day Dick Scruggs is expected to enter a second guilty plea in Federal Court – this time before Judge Glen Davidson in Aberdeen.scruggs-and-wilson-chart

Those who followed USA v Scruggs closely, however,  know today’s event was carried over after plea agreements cut Scruggs I short.

On November 28, 2007, Scruggs and four others were charged in a six-count Indictment alleging they conspired to corruptly influence a judge.  All initially entered pleas of “not guilty”.  Dick Scruggs was represented by attorney Joey Langston.

Six days later (December 4, 2007), Balducci – the only defendant that communicated with the judge – changed his plea to guilty under a Plea Agreement.  It was later revealed Balducci had cooperated with the government and provided the evidence needed to indict Scruggs, Scruggs, and Backstrom.

The defendant agrees to plead guilty under oath to Count One of the Indictment, which charges conspiracy to commit bribery of an elected state official, and which carries maximum possible penalties of 5 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, 3 years supervised release, and a mandatory special assessment of $100; all in violation of Title 18, United States Code § 371.

In early January, Langston’s office was searched by the FBI and on the 7th, he entered a Plea Agreement on a Bill of Information implicating his former client Dick Scruggs as well as defendant Steve Patterson in a scheme to corruptly influence Hinds County Judge Bobby Delaughter. Continue reading “Dick Scruggs and the Plea Tree for Scruggs II”

Rip van Acker wakes up – new Order in Renfroe v Rigsby

Before we take a look at Judge Acker’s latest order, we need to pick up two briefs filed by the Rigsby sisters in reply to Renfroe’s OMG Amended Response as we continue to hunt the Snark, this time with the Bellman’s Speech leading our way through the documents.

“Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best–
A perfect and absolute blank!”

Judging by the Defendant’s Reply to Renfroe’s Amended Response to the Court’s Question, the Rigsby sisters felt the Joint Stipulations had “filled in the blank,” so to speak, until they read Renfroe’s Amended Response. (all emphasis added)

In this document, Renfroe, among other things, referred to its original response as “imprecise,” “inaccurate,” and “confus[ing].” This filing also indicated that its previous response may have left the Court with a “misperception of Renfroe’s intentions,” and “unintentionally led the Court to believe that it would be conducting a trial by affidavit on the question of its attorneys’ fees,” and that its response “expect[ed] the Court to read [Renfroe’s counsel’s] minds.” Given Renfroe’s Amended Response, the Defendants believe that they too may have fallen prey to an incorrect interpretation of Renfroe’s original response and are likewise now unclear as to Renfroe’s intentions in connection with the Joint Stipulations of the Parties (“Joint Stipulation”) that was filed on January 14, 2009…and the briefing the Court ordered on January 28, 2009… As such, the Defendants submit this reply. Continue reading “Rip van Acker wakes up – new Order in Renfroe v Rigsby”