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.
Hopefully, Judge Biggers will catch the slight of hand trick when he reads the Government’s Response to Zach Scruggs’ Motion for Depositions – admittedly, I missed it on my first read and only read it again after catching Patsy Brumfield’s story on NEMS360.com this morning: Feds insist Scruggs request ‘reckless’ to question key figures under oath.
Prosecutors say Zach Scruggs’ request to take sworn statements from 11 key judicial-bribery case witnesses is “reckless, speculative and legally ineffective.”
Their motion filed late Friday argues that the only people the court should subpoena for live testimony should be Scruggs’ four original co-defendants in the 2007 judicial bribery case that rocked Mississippi’s legal community…
Here’s the trick – the Government wants to substitute affidavits given to counter Zach’s Bar Complaint against his former attorney, Anthony Farese, for the depositions Zach requested in his Motion for Depositions. While the names may be the same – Langston, Dawson, Sanders, and Norman – Zach’s Motion goes much further than his complaint against Farese. Not only that, the Government tosses in the affidavits of Oxford attorney Kenneth Coghlan and former Langston law partner Ron Michaels – both supporting Farese in the matter before the Bar, to make the slight of hand trick more believable to Judge Biggers.
However, there are far more significant issues before the Court than those addressed in Zach’s Bar Complaint against Farese – and the Government’s response ignores those issues all but in total. For example, the Government’s position is Judge Lackey should be given a free pass (another one!): Continue reading “Slight of hand – Government playing trick on Judge Biggers with Response to Zach Scruggs’ Motion for Depositions”
Of the five named defendants in USA v Scruggs, only Dick Scruggs remains confined. NEMS360.com reports:
Balducci released from prison on home detention
Although the Eye of the Legal Storm, not the “go-between”, “Former attorney Timothy Balducci, 42, was transferred late Friday from the federal prison at Estill, S.C., where he had been serving a 2-year sentence, to his home at New Albany, said D. Brown, a senior officer specialist at the prison”.
Balducci was trying to influence a judge in a legal dispute between lawyers who were fighting over $26 million in legal fees from a mass settlement of Hurricane Katrina cases…After Balducci’s 2007 arrest the day he completed the payoff to Lackey, he began cooperating with authorities.Balducci wore a recording device to the office of attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the chief architect of the landmark tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s.His cooperation led to arrests and guilty pleas from Scruggs, his son Zach, one of their law partners and Balducci’s partner and former State Auditor Steve Patterson.
SLABBED covered the cross claim filed on behalf of Scruggs’ co-defendant Steve Patterson in Eastland stands behind Motion to Dismiss – Greer files cross-claim for Patterson in Wilson v Scruggs. Alan Lange at Y’all Politics has a post up on the Response from Dick Scruggs: Scruggs denies Steve Patterson, also denies bribing Judge DeLaughter . I have no doubt Lange and I share a common commitment to justice and factual reporting even when we hang our hats on different facts, their meaning, and context. However, there’s no disputing these facts about the Scruggs’ response:
In…[the cross-claim]…Patterson’s attorney writes:
4. 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 is therefore guilty of no active negligence, but at most, passive negligence (which,he denies), 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.
However Scruggs responds:
4. The allegations contained in the first sentence of paragraph 4 are denied. Scruggs lacks information sufficient to admit or deny the remaining allegations contained in paragraph 4. Continue reading “Y’all reports Scruggs denies bribing Judge DeLaughter in Response to Patterson’s cross-claim in Wilson v Scruggs”
…if this Court does find Wilson’s Amended Complaint deficient in any respect Wilson respectfully prays that he be given opportunity to amend his complaint to cure whatsoever deficiencies the Court might find.
While team Wilson was praying Judge Hittner would prescribe a cure, Defendant Steve Patterson’s attorney, Hiram Eastland, filed a Rebuttal declaring the deficiencies fatal.
Plaintiff’s opposition fails to resolve any of the shortcomings addressed in Mr.Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss. From denying the existence of a heightened pleading standard for fraud, to reiterating the same legally insufficient factual allegations, Wilson can point to nothing that would save his complaint from dismissal.
After finding there was “nothing that would save” Wilson’s complaint, Eastland eviscerated Wilson’s Opposition to Patterson’s Motion for Dismissal.
Plaintiff has failed to shed any new light on his Amended Complaint that would allow it to endure against Mr. Patterson. All of the fatal flaws that are reiterated in this reply exist for a reason: this is simply not a RICO case.
Eastland’s arguments, while specific to Patterson, have implications for other defendants and/or other litigation,, particularly those where the distinction between unethical and unlawful conduct has been blurred : Continue reading “Is there a doctor in the court? Patterson”
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 Continue reading “Eastland stands behind Motion to Dismiss – Greer files cross-claim for Patterson in Wilson v Scruggs”
Remember Eastland dismantles RICO claim in Wilson v Scruggs? Well, he sure ‘nuf did – although Patsy Brumfield broke the story in the Daily Journal before I could get to my computer:
Roberts Wilson Jr.’s multi-million-dollar lawsuit against imprisoned ex-attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs has come to an end – it’s been settled, Wilson’s attorney, Charlie Merkel of Clarksdale tells the Daily Journal.
Wilson sued Scruggs and others, accusing them of not paying what he was owed years ago for his part in national asbestos litigation. He also claimed they owed him for using his fees to bankroll other national lawsuits, which yielded mega-fees for the attorneys involved.
One of those “others” was Scruggs co-defendant Steve Patterson and Eastland’s motion to dismiss the RICO case was written in his role as Counsel for Patterson. Continue reading “Breaking News – Wilson v Scruggs settles!”
oxymoron [oksee maw ron] expression with contradictory words; a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect
First, there was the vision of Roberts Wilson and his attorney Charles Merkel sitting ringside when Dick Scruggs is in court reminding me of my overly eager former mother-in-law — although, to her credit, a trip to Piccadilly would satisfy her desire for a free lunch. A vision of constructive trust that is not.
Then, there is the matter of mind-boggling dispute reported last week in the Clarion Ledger creating a vision of “granny Bobs” and “nanny” Merkel each with purse in hand. A vision of constructive trust that is not:
The federal government that prosecuted multimillionaire Dickie Scruggs and a former law partner who says he’s owed millions are battling over money paid to sway a judge in Scruggs’ favor.
Defendant Steve Patterson’s Motion to Dismiss, filed by Greenwood attorney Hiram Eastland,, thoroughly dismantles Wilson’s RICO case. Any vision Wilson had of RICO pouring Scruggs’ money in his purse and Merkel’s had to have been, instead, a hallucination.
A vision of “constructive trust” that is not: Continue reading “Constructive Trust oxymoron in Wilson v Scruggs as Eastland dismantles RICO claim”
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.