With 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.
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).
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.
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 thebabbling Balducciin the recorded conversations of Scruggs I and the standard-English speaking witness he became as a witness.
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.
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…
VIOLATIONS OF THIS AGREEMENT. If defendant violates this agreement, all statements made pursuant hereto will all be admissible against defendant who hereby waives the provisions of Rule II(f) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rule 410 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Defendant may also, in that event, be prosecuted for all federal offenses, including perjury and false statements relating to this plea agreement.
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”.
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.”
Patsy Brumfield of the Journal reports on today’s events in the just-us-justice system of Mississippi.
Timothy Balducci and Steven Patterson will do prison time, despite their cooperation into the infamous conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City.
Their sentences were set today by Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. today at the federal courthouse in Oxford.
• Balducci, formerly of New Albany, will serve 24 months in prison. Balducci was given no fine, because records showed he could not pay one.
• Patterson of New Albany will serve 24 months in prison. Patterson was also given a $150,000 fine.
Justice or just-us-justice? It’s really hard for me to say – not for lack of thought or thought-provoking comment from others here on the blog and off-blog as well. However, there often is a difference between justice as commonly defined and the sometimes just-us-justice here – a difference that is one of the many that make Mississippi the “State of Paradox”.
We’ve birthed the blue; performed the first successful heart transplant: and, bottled the firt coca-cola – but even considering USA v Scruggs and all its implications, we are better people in a better place with a better legal system than that of our past. Some would disagree but none could argue the point with fact.
Lack of fact has never been a barrier for the low-literate but language-rich story-telling population of the “State of Paradox”. Here, the direct descendants of the first Mr. Right (fn:Always) and his Mrs. (nee Promise you-won’t-tell-another-living-soul But) have informed and entertained for generations. In doing so, these story-tellers have defined and devined how the outside world views Mississippi and distorted the outside world to those here.
Just-us-justice established the practice of selective disgrace during a period in the history of the “State of Paradox” when it was not disgraceful for one man to own another – just doing business. As the then wealth of the State evolved into generational poverty, people began to trade on favor – a transaction that makes one man’s word another man’s bondage with the ever present threat of public disgrace from a legal flogging. Continue reading “Mississippi’s just us justice – final”
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.
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.