“Will the April 25th hearing become the trial that never happened”?

Bullseye! Patsy Brumfield hit dead center with Zach Scruggs hearing could unveil additional information for NEMS360.com. A look at the transcript of Zach’s plea hearing indicates Zach’s Motion to Vacate, like Brumfield’s take on the case,  is right on target.

I didn’ t conspire to bribe Judge Lackey in connection with an arbitration order, and I would have stopped it had I known.

However, I did have some knowledge that Tim Balducci had a close personal relationship with Judge Lackey, and that he used that personal relationship to have improper ex parte contacts with the judge regarding the order. Such improper contacts, left unchecked, can – – and in this case did – – deprive the people of the state of Mississippi of fair and honest services.

Nowadays, two significant events make Zach’s “crime” what it was at the time – an ethical violation. The first of these events was the Fifth Circuit’s decision in USA v Minor – a decision most recently quoted on SLABBED in the post USA tells Judge Biggers more time needed for response to Scruggs

In order for section 666 to apply, the bribe must be offered or accepted “in connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions” of the agency receiving federal funds. 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B)…

In Zach’s recently denied Motion to Allow Discovery, Request for Admission #11 addressed this very point and challenged the government to submit any evidence to the contrary:

Admit that in his adjudicatory role presiding over the Jones case, Judge Henry Lackey had no connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions of any entity that received over $10,000 of federal funds.

Of course, there is not now, nor has there ever been, evidence showing the required “nexus between the criminal conduct” of Zach or any other defendant in USA v Scruggs and the “agency administering the federal funds” the government claimed as the basis for federal jurisdiction.

The second significant event – the USSC decision in Skilling – further removed Zach’s ethical lapse from the status of a crime.

His plea connects with the Supreme Court decision because, basically, he pleaded guilty to failure to report the loss of honest services…[and]…the Court held…its reach is limited to “bribery and kickback schemes…

Again, Zach’s plea was to his knowledge of the ex parte contact with Judge Lackey and not to knowledge of any “bribery or kickback scheme”. Patsy Brumfield also makes this point:

Last fall, the 36-year-old Scruggs filed documents claiming that what he pleaded guilty to knowing about was no crime. They also say that new evidence proves he never knew anything about judicial bribery schemes that sent his father and others to prison.

She continues, quoting Judge Biggers’ Order setting the April 25th hearing on Zach’s Motion to Vacate:

“The court is of the opinion that all issues involved in said motion should be heard,” Biggers wrote in his Feb. 8 order setting the hearing. “The court will receive evidence if requested.”

“Evidence, if requested”, according to Brumfield,  is “a tantalizing phrase”. Judge Biggers’ more recent order denying Zach’s Motion to Allow Discovery adds credibility to Brumfield’s suggestion the Judge was “teasing’ when he wrote the Court was willing to receive evidence.

Judge Biggers is certainly not above tormenting Zach, the plea transcript is evidence of that – and he may continue to do so until he makes his decision. However, at that point Biggers, if true to form, will follow the law and vacate Zach’s conviction on the same basis he dismissed charges in USA v Weiner – “the federal court not having jurisdiction in the case”.

6 thoughts on ““Will the April 25th hearing become the trial that never happened”?”

  1. The feds got Farese to work a deal with Langston while Farese was still representing Zach causing all sorts of speculation. Especially since the feds rigged this whole thing up. Also, they used the name Scruggs to complicate the deal saying Scruggs did this and said that when it wasn’t Zach who said anything or did anything to promote the scheme that Langston and Balducci set up in the first place to get in on with The Scruggs Law Firm! There is a saying that goes something like this — “Hey, don’t do me any favors.”

  2. Also, Ashton. Zach did NOT plead GUILTY to a FELONY. He pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony which is “[T]he offense of concealing a felony committed by another, but without such previous concert with or subsequent assistance to the felon as would make the party concealing an accessory before or after the fact.”

  3. To “bellsouth”: The Federal crime of “misprison of a felony” is codified in 18 United States Code Section 4, and provides for a term of imprisonment of not more than 3 years. In the Federal System, any crime punishable for more than 1 year is classified as a “felony”. Surely, you’re not arguing that the crime to which Zach Scruggs voluntarily entered his GUILTY plea was a “misdemeanor”, are you? If it wasn’t a misdemeanor, and if as you say it wasn’t a felony, then what was it? Ashton O’Dwyer a/k/a “The WHITE Henry Glover”.

  4. You tell me, Ashton, you’re the lawyer. So, you’re a felon for knowing about a felony? What’s the federal crime here? It never belonged in federal court in the first place. Have you EVER heard of jurisdiction? It is nothing more than a contempt of court. The federal and state criminal codes define felony status crimes and in turn also have various classes of felonies (e.g. Class A, B, C, etc.) or degress (first, second, third) with varying sentences for each class. Even if it was a federal crime it would not be a felony. Federal crime does not equal felony.

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