Big football weekend here in the land of the slabbed; but, no sports channel was covering the settlement game – and one is definitely playing in Wilson v Scruggs.
Almost simultaneously with their settlement with Team Scruggs, Team Wilson filed a weak response to co-defendant Steve Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss – an obvious incentive to settle.
Apparently, it was also incentive for Eastland to stick with the playbook while co-counsel Greer went with the legal equivalent of wild Rebel and filed across-claim for Patterson that suggests there is still more to learn about the money paid Ed Peters:
Patterson’s only involvement in the circumstances surrounding this action was that he was asked by Scruggs’ representatives to find local counsel in Jackson, Mississippi, for the Wilson asbestos case. Patterson had known Attorney Ed Peters (“Peters”) for years and recommended Peters to Scruggs as local counsel. The only action taken by Patterson was introducing Scruggs and his legal team to Peters so that Peters could be the consulting local counsel in the Wilson litigation.
At no time did Patterson have any direct contact with Circuit Judge, Bobby DeLaughter, nor did he attend any meetings when Judge DeLaughter was present. Specifically, Patterson never committed any criminal act whatsoever, such as bribery or fraud, and never committed any act which would amount to general negligence, gross negligence, breach of contract or any other action of whatsoever kind which would cause, contribute to, or relate in any way to any damages allegedly sustained by the plaintiff.
Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that Scruggs is guilty of bribing Judge DeLaughter, and defrauding the plaintiff, by and through Peters, and that those actions caused a favorable result in the Wilson case. Patterson had no involvement at all in those circumstances other than introducing Scruggs to the local counsel, Peters. Patterson received no funds, was not compensated in any way, shape or form…and was completely unaware of the possibility that Scruggs would allegedly perform any criminal act of any sort to bring potential liability upon himself and others.
Scruggs, according to plaintiff, is allegedly guilty of the crimes charged to him in regard to Judge DeLaughter and has pled guilty to some of the same. Therefore, by his own admission, he is guilty of a crime which is one of the elements requiring common law indemnity in favor of Patterson if Patterson had any vicarious responsibility.
So, sports fans, what we have here is a crime where no one accused of attempting to influence Judge DeLaughter ever said a word to the man.
Absent a smoking gun email, doesn’t the Government’s entire case rest on the word of Ed Peters? After all, neither Scruggs, nor Joey Langston, nor Balducci, nor Patterson can testify to having a conversation with DeLaughter.
…and then there’s the matter of the money paid former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters AKA DeLaughter’s close personal friend:
Booneville lawyer Joey Langston pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to getting money from Scruggs to try to influence DeLaughter’s decision. In his plea, Langston said he was paid $1 million from Scruggs to Peters to get a favorable ruling from the judge in a lawsuit against Scruggs for attorneys’ fees from asbestos litigation.
A similar article ups the ante to three ($3,000,000)
In the $16 million Wilson vs. Scruggs lawsuit, Dickie Scruggs’ former attorney Joey Langston admits getting $3 million to influence that case before Judge DeLaughter. Langston says Peters pocketed $1 million to convince DeLaughter to rule in Scruggs’ favor.
The total amount in play and the distribution of same was included in the criminal charges admitted to by Langston in his negotiated plea agreement with the government.
Between July 2006 and July 2007 Langston, Patterson and close personal friend of DeLaughter split $3million.
How is it then that some months later, Langston recanted with no repercussions for what amounted to lying to the government:
Richard “Dickie” Scruggs didn’t pay me what he said he would, says former Booneville attorney Joey Langston in newly filed court documents. Even so, Langston said he paid former Hinds District Attorney Edward Peters his share — $950,000 — of what they “saved” Scruggs by allegedly bribing a judge to rule for Scruggs in a legal-fees case now the object of a federal investigation and a civil lawsuit…
Langston’s affidavit says he paid Peters $1 million “even though I did not receive $3,000,000.00 from Scruggs.”
So, Langston, not Scruggs, paid Ed Peters to influence Judge DeLaughter. Could that be what’s contained in Peters’ immunity agreement with the government that Phillip Thomas of the MS Litigation Review has been unable to obtain from the USA or the Department of Justice?
Shockingly, the government has another trick up its sleeve to stall on producing the Ed Peters immunity agreement. Taking a page out of Dean Smith’s playbook, the DOJ has gone into the four corners.
I can sue DOJ to try to get a judge to order production of the agreement, but not until the appeal is decided. I’m sure DOJ will be in a big hurry to rule on (deny) the appeal. I’m starting to see how Yossarian felt.
Is Thomas the only one who feels caught in a Catch-22 since Balducci expanded his cooperation with the government to include the attempted bribe by flattery of Judge DeLaughter?