BREAKING NEWS: Y’all Come, door’s open! – Biggers’ Order responds to Zach Scruggs’ Motion for Depositions

As folks here say, Judge Biggers “just outdid himself “with this Order!

In resolving the issues raised by the petitioner, the court is going to consider evidence in open court from live witnesses in accordance with the Rules of Evidence.The petitioner has presented to the court the names of witnesses he wants to depose, and the government has responded as to why some of the potential witnesses are not relevant to issues in the upcoming hearing. The court will not pre-judge what testimony potential witnesses may give and therefore will not disallow the petitioner to call some witnesses and allow him to call other witnesses; but the court will take up any objections made to questions of witnesses as they may come up from either party in open court based on the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Oxford is definitely the place to be on the 24th of April. Expect standing-room-only if you’re planning to attend the Hearing on Zach Scruggs’ Motion to Vacate! Dick Scruggs, Sid Backstrom, Steve Patterson, Tim Balducci, Judge Lackey, Tom Dawson, Bob Norman, Anthony Farese, and Dick Scruggs, Sid Backstrom, Steve Patterson, Tim Balducci, Judge Lackey, Tom Dawson, Bob Norman, Anthony Farese, and FBI Agent William Dulaney will all be there with Zach.

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””

Lackey and Balducci- the Laurel and Hardy of judicial bribery

As I read the Objections to the presentencing investigative report on Sid Backstrom filed by attorney Frank Trapp, two thoughts came to mind almost simultaneously.

One, that Lackey and Balducci were the Laurel and Hardy of judicial bribery – the this is another fine mess you’ve gotten me into leaders of what never was meant to be; and, the other

Frank Trapp writes like the honorable man he’s reported to be and honors all with his candor – his client, the co-defendants, and the Court – while objecting to the report.

To avoid misunderstanding, these objections are solely to place the conduct in what counsel believes is a fair and accurate statement of the facts and law. It is not to avoid or diminish acceptance of responsibility by Mr. Backstrom. To be clear, whether in the first instant a lawyer offers money or a judge asks for money, the payment of money by a lawyer to a judge is illegal—that is not disputed.

His “fair and accurate statement of the facts” also provides the most coherent account to date of what took place – and what didn’t. You’ll want to read every word. Continue reading “Lackey and Balducci- the Laurel and Hardy of judicial bribery”

Grab your hiking boots – time to wander from Perdigao v Adams & Reese to USA v Scruggs

If you find yourself lost as we wander from NOLA way up to the land of Faulker, worry not – this is not about changing the facts to fit the picture, it’s more of a sight-seeing trip to see if the facts fit the frame.

Among the comments made to the Perdiago update Sop posted today, were several about Perdiago’s allegations about Allstate and Robert Wooley, the former Louisiana insurance Commission who joined Adams & Reese. Take note of section 73 and these two sentences:

Notably absent from Wooley’s list ofpotential clients in his business plan was a “big fish” that was not already a client of the firm. The firm already represented State Farm, the largest homeowners’ insurer in the state. Continue reading “Grab your hiking boots – time to wander from Perdigao v Adams & Reese to USA v Scruggs”

Judge Lackey spilled the beans; Cal Mayo provided the context

Judge Lackey took the stand at the hearing on Jones v Scruggs in Oxford today – the Oxford Eagle tells the story in part:

Tollison questioned Scruggs for about 15 minutes, but he never answered a single question with anything other than taking the 5th.

After Scruggs, Lackey took the stand and spoke about the bribe conspiracy for the first time in public.

Lackey said Timothy Balducci approached him in March 2007 about the Jones V. Scruggs case and offered Lackey a place in his firm. Concerned about his behavior, Lackey said he contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office who began surveillance on Balducci’s and Lackey’s phone conversations. It took until the fall of 2007 for money to be brought up.

Tollison asked Lackey why it took so long for the issue of money to be discussed. “I was having some serious difficulty,” Lackey said. “I just couldn’t bring myself to say, ‘Bring me some money and I’ll do this.’ But ultimately, I did.”

“Who suggested that?” Tollison asked.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office had been listening to the conversation. They were convinced, much more than I, that this was what their intent was. I hoped upon hope that wasn’t going to happen. I had just hoped Tim would have said, ‘Judge you misunderstood me. I’m sorry — just forget what I said.’”

If not that, what was it Balducci saying when he made this remark? Continue reading “Judge Lackey spilled the beans; Cal Mayo provided the context”

Zach’s jonesing for justice – what about Jones?

The James hearing scheduled for tomorrow may not be the end for Dickie’s boy Zach but tomorrow he’s Zach the man – jonesing for justice.

USA v Scruggs began last November but the story behind the case began with another man – jonesing for revenge and using the court as his weapon – John Jones. Continue reading “Zach’s jonesing for justice – what about Jones?”