Tower of Babble – USA v Delaughter and Wilson v Scruggs

60017055With a little more than a month away from Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter’s corruption trial, the U.S. attorney’s office is bringing in witnesses imprisoned for their roles in attempting to bribe a different judge…Records from the Bureau of Prisons show Timothy Balducci has been moved from his prison in South Carolina to a transfer facility in Oklahoma…Balducci was the one who tipped off the FBI to the DeLaughter case.

So, Balducci tipped off the FBI a high stakes game of Let’s Make a Deal and the Minor bribe he offered Judge Lackey stays behind door #2!

The obviously clairvoyant Langston pleads guilty, claims he has all the answers, changes the game to Jeopardy and the Tower of Babble begins to build.  Patterson makes three to plea – but he’s no game changer and doesn’t seem to be much of a player – so, he just babbles.

Two P’s in a pod? Not. But, Peters comes next and pays to play.  The game changes to Charades.  Scruggs appears guilty of attempted flattery but pleads to mailing the Court the paperwork required for Langston and Balducci to make an appearance.  The Tower of Babble with Delaughter not and Witness accounts seem to conflict.

Through his lawyers, Scruggs seemed to discount the prosecution’s case in their response to Wilson last week in the civil action: “Wilson assumes that Scruggs corruptly influenced Judge DeLaughter in his rulings. Scruggs has pleaded guilty to attempting to corruptly influence Judge DeLaughter in his rulings, but Wilson has presented nothing to connect this attempt with actual influence or to any such influence with any harm to Wilson.”

What if Ed Peters falls apart on the stand? This question has been bouncing around in my head for awhile now. 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. What if Peters does not? Similar pro-Scruggs sentiments came out early on Tim Balducci (as he was the only one with contact with Lackey – by design, I might add).

Horrors! What if people have to look at the evidence? Continue reading “Tower of Babble – USA v Delaughter and Wilson v Scruggs”

duck, duck, goose – Balducci taps Delaughter

Balducci, who was questioned as part of the unrelated Eaton v. Frisby lawsuit, is expected to testify against DeLaughter, who goes on trial Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court in Oxford on corruption charges. DeLaughter has insisted he is innocent, following the law in his rulings.

The sweet potato king is back in the news – exactly how seems to be the question:

Contacted for comment about the deposition, DeLaughter’s attorney, Thomas Durkin of Chicago, remarked, “I find it very curious how a sealed document ended up in the hands of the press, and it’s more proof to me that money is the root of all evil. People will do a lot of things and say a lot of things to protect their money. Someone is obviously attempting to poison the jury venire.”

Even more curious than a sealed document ending up in the hands of the press is the difference between the babbling Balducci in the recorded conversations of Scruggs I and the standard-English speaking witness he became as a witness.

And, then, there’s the matter of the Motion to Dismiss the Indictment for Government Misconduct Occurring Before the Grand Jury. Continue reading “duck, duck, goose – Balducci taps Delaughter”

I tawt I taw a puddy tat – but there’s nobody here but Joey Langston

Judge Bobby DeLaughter’s devolution into USA v DeLaughter began when Joey Langston punched his ticket to the best plea agreement ever by confessing to the crime of bribery-by-flattery of Judge Delaughter.

SLABBED reported on the benefit of Langston plea agreement when two of his alleged co-flatters reported to prison for their role in USA v Scruggs.

Langston was sentenced last December for a Jan. 15 report, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office got Judge Michael Mills to delay his imprisonment until March 16 so he could continue helping with some investigations. However, prosecutors apparently renewed their request, sources say, and asked the court to postpone Langston’s report a few more weeks to keep him close as he apparently continues to cooperate with their investigations into the DeLaughter case and perhaps others.

However, that post was written on March 23 and it also reported the absence of the standard Letter to Report in Langston’s case docket – notable because he should have reported seven days earlier on the 16th and, according to information on the docket tonight, he reported on the 16th of April – and that’s Loony Tunes because a few weeks ago the BOP inmate locator showed him in transit.

It’s also Loony Tunes that there was a Motion to postpone his reporting but no Order when the Daily Journal checked on the afternoon of the 16th of March or when I sylvester2checked checked the 23rd; but, it’s on there now and dated the 11th of March with a note that the entries for both the Motion and the Order were modified on the 30th of March with no indication of how – and that’s when it struck me that Langston was popping up like Sylvester,  the Loony Tunes cat.

Sufferin’ succotash, Continue reading “I tawt I taw a puddy tat – but there’s nobody here but Joey Langston”

SLABBED Daily – April 18

We may have to call this the weekend edition – but not for lack of news.

My “to do” list for SLABBED is full and as I can find time, I’ll be posting on and off all weekend.  One big item is adding the lastest filings in USA v Delaughter and a post explaining what these documents suggest about the direction of the case.  Another is an update on Road Home litigation and the implications that has for the insurance industry and Katrina litigation.

We do have an update from the Clarion Ledger on Attorney General Hood’s entry in the case the State Auditor filed against former attorney Joey Langston over the MCI legal fees.

State Attorney General Jim Hood will file a motion for summary judgment within 10 days asking Circuit Judge Winston Kidd to rule against state Auditor Stacey Pickering in the case. Pickering will then have 10 days to respond.

As suspected and mentioned in the SLABBED Daily, Hood’s entry is related to the Constitutional issue of the Attorney General’s sole power to file lawsuits on behalf of the State.

Because this is a State court case,  access to court documents is difficult to impossible – a limitation that also applies to Wilson v Scruggs.  The Clarion Ledger has the latest on that story as well. Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 18”

SLABBED Daily – April 16

An afternoon edition!  The MRGO documents are slow reading; but, I’m almost done.  Plus, we’ll be seeing more of Sop with the 15th deadline behind him.

Daily news has been a little slow – or so it seems with the Daily Journal just now picking up the story of Balducci’s handwritten Answer to Wilson v Scruggs.  Of course, the delay could be the website redesign that has produced urls that could choke tiny url.

Balducci’s most recent admission is that he conspired with Scruggs and others to influence Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter in another legal-fees lawsuit, Wilson v. Scruggs…While DeLaughter denies it’s true, Scruggs admitted his part just a few days before DeLaughter was indicted in the matter. But Balducci takes it a step further…

Doesn’t he always take things a step further?  Speaking of taking things further, Y’all Politics posted a flash on the State’s attempt to claim the legal fees MCI paid to Joey Langston Continue reading “SLABBED Daily – April 16”

Judge DeLaughter goes into motion! Six, to be exact.

Prior to the indictment of Dick Scruggs, few things were as improbable as the mention of judicial bribery and Judge Bobby DeLaughter in the same breath.

On January 28, 2008, the government filed a notice of its intent to introduce “other act” evidence pursuant to Rule 404(b), identifying the evidence in a subsequent letter to Defendants’ counsel as “another attempt to corruptly influence a judicial proceeding,” referring to a search warrant application for the Langston Law Firm and the information, factual basis, and plea colloquy in United States v. Joseph C. Langston

On January 7, 2008, former attorney Joseph C. Langston pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiring to attempt in 2006 to corruptly influence First Circuit Court District Judge Bobby DeLaughter in a case then pending before Judge DeLaughter, Wilson v. Scruggs…(Source: USA v Scruggs, Defendant’s Motion in Limine to Exclude Extrensic Evidence Pursuant to Rule 404(B) and Memorandum of Law; links added)

What began as improbable has become the probability of a precedent setting case.

On March 14, 2008, Dick Scruggs entered a guilty plea in USA v Scruggs.   Judge Delaughter is named in the news story quoted in a SLABBED post published later in the day.   Almost a year later, Dick Scruggs entered a second guilty plea.  However, this time Judge DeLaughter was named in the indictment.

Unlike Scruggs, Judge DeLaughter entered a plea of not guilty.  SLABBED posted the story of his arraignment In this world of sin and sorrow – USA v DeLaughter,.

The former prosecutor who made a worldwide name for himself for putting Klansman Byron De La Beckwith behind bars pleaded not guilty today to a five-count indictment in court, accused of ruling in favor of the former lawyer once called Mississippi’s “king of torts.”

Some have compared the period following indictment to the grieving process; i.e., denial to acceptance of responsibility and an eventual guilty plea.  Is Judge DeLaughter in the midst of that process or is he truly not guilty as charged?

At this point, any answer is a guess; and, many have been guessing.  Most, however, have been guessing at his strategy for fighting the charges. On Thursday, he filed a set of six motions that suggest his defense.  All six motions are linked below.  Each is followed with a summary compiled from the text with the exception of the Motion for a Bill of Particulars which is both linked and presented in text. (all emphasis added) Continue reading “Judge DeLaughter goes into motion! Six, to be exact.”

The Daily Slab – March 25 (Updated)

Check out the comments reader Steve has added to  A bit more on $enator Chri$ Dodd’$ ties to offshore reinsurers as we follow the $$$$$$$$.  Fascinating information and incredible research – Sop and I shout out a big Thank You.

Several news items with updates on topics we’ve covered were posted during the day yesterday and are linked below in no particular order:

Any other time, one or more of these items would have be the subject of a post – and maybe will be one day; but, for now, we’re just keeping readers up to date on current news and reporting  breaking news in posts.  As David Rossmiller said so well, “Work is the curse of the blogging class”.

Patterson, Balducci, Langston – guess who’s special?

This is reporting week for Patterson and Balducci according to the Letter to Report on the docket of each.  Patterson will be confined in Montgomery and Balducci in Estill, South Carolina.

Langston, on the other hand, was initially scheduled to report in January until the USA filed a motion to delay reporting.

On December 16, 2008, JOSEPH C. LANGSTON was sentenced by the Court to three years in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons. He was permitted to execute a voluntary surrender form and has been ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons before 2:00 p.m. on January 15, 2009.  JOSEPH C. LANGSTON is a crucial witness in an ongoing government investigation. It would be most helpful to have him available for personal conferences and telephone calls here in the Northern District of Mississippi. Accordingly, JOSEPH C. LANGSTON’s plea of guilty is final and his sentence has been imposed. The government simply asks that he be kept available to government investigators until further order of the Court.

Judge Mills granted the Motion and set March 21st as Langston’s reporting date.  Patsy Brumfield at the Journal picks up from there with Langston gets another prison reprieve.

Disgraced Booneville ex-attorney Joey Langston can remain out of federal prison a few more weeks to help investigators make at least one case, officials tell the Daily Journal today. Langston was scheduled to turn himself in to a Montgomery, Ala., prison today for his January 2008 guilty plea in the scheme to bribe Judge Bobby DeLaughter of Hinds County. Langston was sentenced last December for a Jan. 15 report, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office got Judge Michael Mills to delay his imprisonment until March 16 so he could continue helping with some investigations. However, prosecutors apparently renewed their request, sources say, and asked the court to postpone Langston’s report a few more weeks to keep him close as he apparently continues to cooperate with their investigations into the DeLaughter case and perhaps others.

Amazing! Even more amazing is Langston’s docket has no Letter to Report from David Crews, Clerk of the Northern District Court.  Someone must have known Langston had been assigned to Montgomery and passed the information on to Patsy.  I have no such logical explanation for her  departure from fact in the most recent favorable press for Langston from the Journal, Billy Crews, CEO: Booneville law firm reflects old, new family ties. Continue reading “Patterson, Balducci, Langston – guess who’s special?”

of loose lips and sinking ships – and Balducci’s “extraordinary cooperation”

Talented reporter Alyssa Schnugg has often compensated for the delayed reporting of the afternoon publishing schedule of the Oxford Eagle with a more complete story than the morning papers.  Unfortunately, her story of the sentencing of Tim Balducci stops short of an explanation for Balducci’s “immediate cooperation” and fails to question what “wrong” he is attempting to “right”.

Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson both appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Neal B. Biggers this morning at the Federal Courthouse in Oxford.

Both men pleaded guilty a year ago to a charge of conspiring with Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, his son and attorney Zach Scruggs and his law partner Sidney Backstrom to bribe Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey with $40,000 for a favorable ruling in a lawsuit against the elder Scruggs involving legal fees in Hurricane Katrina related litigation.

During Balducci’s sentencing hearing, U.S. Assistant Attorney Bob Norman told the judge that his department had never seen such “complete cooperation” from another defendant…“His cooperation was immediate,” Norman said. “He’s doing the best he knows how to do to right the wrong he has done.”

What Paul Harvey would introduce as ” the rest of the story” comes from the unlikely source of Rossmiller’s Blog in addition to other transcripts of recorded conversations and court proceedings in USA v Scruggs. Continue reading “of loose lips and sinking ships – and Balducci’s “extraordinary cooperation””

Just the pleas, please – Scruggs, Scruggs, Balducci, Patterson, Langston

Judging by what I’ve read today, with at least one additional indictment expected this week, there is confusion about the exposure those with plea agreements in USA v Scruggs have to “other charges” following the recent plea of Dick Scruggs.

The Plea Agreements of  Zach Scruggs, Tim Balducci, and Steve Patterson contain terms that specifically address the possibility of other charges with similar, if not identical, language:

OTHER CHARGES: The United States agrees not to charge the defendant with any other offenses arising from or related to the charges in the indictment.

Only the Plea Agreement of Dick Scruggs did not contain this exclusion; but, reportedly, Scruggs entered his plea this week under a Plea Agreement that excludes other charges from any testimony he gives on a case.  It should also be noted that, while his name has not been mentioned in conjunction with the attempt to influence Judge DeLaughter,  Sid Backstrom’s Plea Agreement contained language on “other charges” similar to that found in the agreements of Zach Scruggs, Balducci and Patterson.

Joey Langston however, managed to come up with what one might call “a sweetheart of a deal” in his Plea Agreement:

OTHER CHARGES: The United States agrees not to charge the defendant with any other offenses, related or unrelated, as of the date of this Agreement.

Because it seems appropriate, I’ll add that there are many in Hinds County who hold Judge Delaughter in high regard similar to that reserved for Judge Lackey in Lafayette County.