Slabbed and Ashley mentioned in the same sentence. And as fate would have it only now that she's gone is the genius behind Nowdy's work here becoming evident.

When I checked stats and Jason’s post on American Zombie about our coverage of the goings on in Oxpatch and read the comments, I was truly humbled to see one of the commenters mentioning us deserving the Ashley Award. For those who are not schooled in the lore of the local blogging community the Ashley Award is named for Ashley Morris, the granddaddy of us all who lost his life in the spring of 2008. Creighton Bernette from Treme’s first season was based on him in large part and his blog still lives to this day. It is a heck of an honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence.

Since our early days I thought our natural readership traffic would be largely along the I-10 corridor as we’re culturally similar. My former partner in blog Nowdy hailed from central Mississippi and while she was hip to this area she was hipper to the goings on from Jackson north. And when the Dick Scruggs prosecution met the insurance battles down here we naturally didn’t take things and the story line being peddled in both the main stream press and the blogs at face value.  Nowdy well knew of the time-honored tradition of bare knuckle vendetta, Mississippi style. For me the fact that State Farm so well-integrated into the news cycle was plenty enough.  She was ridiculed and derided for some of her work but by God it has somehow manged to survive the test of time in part.

I mention all this because some of the ridicule came from Tom Freeland aka NMC. He was advocating in USA v Scruggs on behalf of Judge Lackey, his daddy’s former law partner who evidently once had an office in that “quaint Victorian-style Jackson Avenue office” that “has housed lawyers since 1905.” I think William Falkner took a crap in the hall bathroom there once too. And since I brung it up I’ll add we’ve always stipulated Team Freeland bleeds blue. Along those same lines he also had IRS leins and they all put their pants on one leg at a time. But he also blogs and we’re better off for it (when he isn’t grinding an axe against Dick Scruggs or helping State Farm rat fuck ordinary people down here whose only sin was having full insurance coverage and losing their house to Hurricane Katrina) as his blog is at times very good. In fact this last January I personally recommended it to Jason at AZ and made sure Tom was aware if American Zombie. After all just because we fussed some doesn’t mean the material is crap. Bloggers are a very competitive bunch after all. Continue reading “Slabbed and Ashley mentioned in the same sentence. And as fate would have it only now that she's gone is the genius behind Nowdy's work here becoming evident.”

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.

in perfect harmony – Zach files trio of documents in USA v Scruggs

Maybe the Rule of Law will also sing “in perfect harmony” after the Court considers the trio of documents filed in USA v Scruggs this morning. Patsy Brumfield reports on one –  Petitioner’s Memorandum In Reply to the Government’s Response to Motion of David Zachary Scruggs for Depositions (linked here and in Scribd’ format below) – in Scruggs offers more reasons to question key players under oath.

Scruggs’ new filing insists that advance testimony will help sort out issues for the court, especially from former Circuit Judge Henry Lackey, ex-Booneville attorney Joey Langston and FBI Agent William Dulaney…In today’s motion, which responds to a government motion last week, Scruggs says prosecutors “cannot substitute (their) spin for evidence developed under the crucible of cross-examination of witnesses under oath.

Since the two other briefs filed today lend context to the Scruggs’ Reply, SLABBED looks to these before introducing the arguments set forth in the Reply.

In Petitioner’s Bench Memorandum Regarding Procedural Default (linked here and in Scribd’ format below) Scruggs’ attorney, former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Edward “Chip” Robertson, notes “the Government seems to be laboring under confusion regarding this Court’s jurisdiction to hear the entirety of the issues raised in the Section 2255 Petition” before clearing the confusion with citations of applicable law: (emphasis added)

the Government has repeatedly attempted to narrow the scope of the Court-ordered hearing, most recently to avoid discovery about the truth behind the three issues raised in the Petition. In case there is any doubt about the proper scope of the hearing and the proper scope of necessary and appropriate discovery, Petitioner submits this bench memorandum concisely explaining the law of procedural default.

This Court has three different and independent bases for jurisdiction over this Petition.

Regarding the first Continue reading “in perfect harmony – Zach files trio of documents in USA v Scruggs”

Slight of hand – Government playing trick on Judge Biggers with Response to Zach Scruggs’ Motion for Depositions

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”

Zach Scruggs files the mother of all motions – Motion for Deposition of all Scruggs defendants and key players UPDATED

Update: Patsy Brumfield reports on Zach’s motion in the Sunday edition of NEMS360What may they say, if Zach Scruggs questions key players?

Skipping the legal argument of Zach’s Motion for Depositions (below in Scribd format) and going straight to what everyone has always wanted to know:

“The following states the name of each person whose deposition is requested, along with illustrative (but not exhaustive) information explaining the discoverable information that person is likely to provide. For the sake of brevity, each entry incorporates the knowledge stated for prior witnesses”.

Sidney Backstrom:

Mr. Backstrom was a co-defendant in this case, who worked in the Scruggs Law Firm across the hall from the Petitioner. Mr. Backstrom has discoverable knowledge concerning the Scruggs Katrina Group and their assessment of the Jones case, whether Petitioner ever knew about an alleged bribery scheme or whether there was any such bribery scheme. This Court has previously suggested that Mr. Backstrom would surely have discussed a bribery scheme with Petitioner (see Petition, D.E. 303 at 33), and Mr. Backstrom will put such speculation to rest. Specifically, Mr. Backstrom can provide context to the November recording, testifying as to whether Petitioner was present during key moments. Mr. Backstrom is also a witness regarding the existence of certain alleged conversations and emails, about which Timothy Balducci has testified falsely.

Mr. Backstrom can also testify to whether Petitioner ever did anything to join the conspiracy, in support thereof, or to conceal the same, along with the state of mind of the Petitioner regarding Judge Lackey’s order compelling arbitration. Mr. Backstrom also has knowledge of exculpatory discussions he had with federal authorities concerning Petitioner both before and after he became a cooperating witness, as well as about the existence or absence of any documentation of such discussions, which should have been disclosed to Petitioner. Mr. Backstrom will also impeach testimony and representations previously given to this Court by both Government witnesses and the Government itself. Mr. Backstrom presently resides in Texas, outside the civil subpoena power of this Court, making a deposition the only practicable way to get his testimony for this Court…(citations omitted)

Richard Scruggs

Mr. Scruggs was the primary defendant in this case, and has discoverable knowledge about the foregoing issues. Mr. Scruggs is also in the best position to testify about who created the alleged bribery scheme, when, and how, and most importantly, whether Petitioner was ever told about that alleged bribery scheme. In addition, Mr. Scruggs knows whether Petitioner was ever informed about the $40,000 and $10,000 payments to Mr. Balducci, or whether Petitioner was informed that the legal work assigned to Mr. Balducci on a Hurricane Katrina case was a mere sham, as the Government alleges, to provide cover for reimbursing the alleged bribery funds.

Mr. Scruggs can also testify to whether Petitioner ever did anything to join the conspiracy, in support thereof, or to conceal the same. This testimony will also serve to impeach testimony and representations previously given to this Court by both Government witnesses and the Government itself. Mr. Scruggs resides in a Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky, outside the civil subpoena power of this Court, making a deposition the only practicable way to get his testimony for this Court…(citations omitted)

Zach also seeks to depose Steven Patterson,Timothy Balducci, Judge Henry Lackey, William Delaney, Joseph Langston, Anthony Farese, Tom Dawson, Judge David Sanders, and Robert Norman – specifics below the jump. Continue reading “Zach Scruggs files the mother of all motions – Motion for Deposition of all Scruggs defendants and key players UPDATED”

Tall tales and coverying a$$ – former US Attorney (mis)speaks about Scruggs case in presentation to Memphis Rotary

Coffee in hand, I found an email message waiting for me to wake up and get going this morning – and Former U.S. Attorney Greenlee Discusses Big Cases did ever more get me going.  Going straight to my bookcase to confirm that Greenlee was trying to cover his a$$ when he told tall tales to the Memphis Rotary Club:

Circuit Court judge, Henry L. Lackey, came to see…[him]…without an appointment to say there had been an attempt to bribe him with $40,000 by a young lawyer working for Scruggs.

Greenlee’s a$$ is certainly exposed; but, before that discussion, let’s take a look at what I found in my bookcase.

“During the first week of April 2007, John Hailman, Chief of the Criminal Division, came into First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Dawson’s office and closed the door.  Hailman had been contacted by Judge Henry Lackey and, at the Judge’s request, had a lengthy meeting with him earlier in the day”.  (Kings of Torts, page 123)

“On the morning of April 11, two weeks after his meeting with Balducci, the judge telephoned his old friend John Hailman, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oxford and told him, “John, something’s come up and I really need to see you”. (The Fall of the House of Zeus, page 149)

Clearly, Judge Lackey did not contact Greenlee and when he came to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he came after making arrangements to meet with John Hailman.

Tall tale, part two – there was no $40,000 to mention.  Returning to my bookcase, we find:

Balducci sought rulings in favor of Scruggs, and, during the same conversation, he offered an “of counsel” position to the judge in Balducci’s firm when the judge stepped down from the bench. (Kings of Torts, pages 123 -124)

It was some five months later before money was mentioned – and, even then, it was the Government that brought the subject up and Judge Lackey who decided the amount.  In part, that aspect of the case is the reason Greenlee needs to cover his a$$.

As tantalizing as Judge Lackey’s report must have been, a competent U.S. Attorney would have known immediately there was no federal jurisdiction.  In other words, Greenlee had no authority to conduct an investigation, much less offer Judge Lackey the protection of official right to commit extortion by asking Balducci for $40,000 in exchange for a favorable ruling. Continue reading “Tall tales and coverying a$$ – former US Attorney (mis)speaks about Scruggs case in presentation to Memphis Rotary”

Zach files Motion for Reconsideration – will the usual noise from north Mississippi follow?

Here we go! Patsy Brumfield, who isn’t noise, had a short story up on NEMS360.com:

Zach Scruggs wants Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. to reconsidering allowing him to seek new evidence related to his 2008 conviction.

The new evidence, Scruggs insists in a motion filed Wednesday, did not exist when he pleaded guilty and went to prison for knowing about an illegal conversation between then-New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci and Circuit Judge Henry Lackey.

This text from the Motion is significant and, IMO, should be read before the “lacunae” (a gap or place where something is missing, e.g. in a line of argument) or the discussion of “the new evidence that did not exist” when Zach entered his plea: (The Motion with all Exhibits, 119-pages total, follows below in Scribd format.)

Even with these lacunae, it bears emphasis that after all the facts were put on the table, it became clear to the Government that Petitioner was innocent of any involvement in bribery, and those charges were voluntarily dismissed. At that time, the Government repeatedly represented to this Court orally and in the Factual Basis that “all the facts and circumstances” of this petitioner’s conduct amounted to mere earwigging, not bribery. Plea Hearing Tr. 3/21/208 at 8 (Mr. Sanders), Sentencing Hearing Tr., 7/2/08 at 5 (Mr. Dawson). The purpose of much of the Petitioner’s propounded discovery is to discern what factual basis exists for the Government now to say the opposite.

Amazingly, it was in reading prosecutor Tom Dawson’s book that Zach learned of  “new evidence” giving cause to open Discovery. (I wonder if Judge Biggers learned something new, too, assuming he read the book)

Langston and Farese made a desperate pitch for immunity, offering to testify against Scruggs in the Delaughter case. They argued that the value of Langston’s testimony would cause Scruggs’s collapse in both cases, resulting in guilty pleas. The specter of Scruggs’s own lawyer testifying against him would be insurmountable. (Petition Exh. C., at 188.) Continue reading “Zach files Motion for Reconsideration – will the usual noise from north Mississippi follow?”

Tit for Tat and boobs in the news!

Literally, what a boob!

An Orange County woman’s new breasts cost her six months in jail. Yvonne Jean Pampellonne was sentenced Monday in Westminster for using a fraudulent line of credit to obtain $12,000 in cosmetic surgery, including breast implants and liposuction. The 30-year-old woman had pleaded guilty to burglary, grand theft and identity theft. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail and was placed on three years’ probation.

It’s not often we see such a clear cut case of tit for tat.

Next, a pair of boobs – the Oxford Eagle and Tom Dawson, the now tea partying, but otherwise somewhat retired USA who wrote his version of the truth about Dick Scruggs as a co-author to Y’all’s Alan Lang (who isn’t a boob, IMO).  The Eagle who came up with the most intrusive registration form ever is obviously a double-breasted boob.  The Oxford tea party is headed by former MSSC Judge Kay Cobb – a “W” girl back in the day when tea parties required proper manners, white gloves and a hat.

Dawson as a tea party planner makes me wonder if the Oxford group has more than one purpose. It may be his first tea party but wouldn’t be the first rodeo he put together. Wonder if Judge Lackey is joing in or sitting this party out?

Last, a boob on ICE, according to the story another reader sent: Continue reading “Tit for Tat and boobs in the news!”

White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort

Given his history as former chief counsel to former Senator Trent Lott, others may not consider Jackson attorney Steve Seale a white knight for taking issue with King of Torts author and former AUSA Tom Dawson at the monthly meeting meeting of the Capitol Press Corps.  However, before Mr. Seale went to Washington, he was a member of the Mississippi State Senate who earned white knight status for the strength of character he regularly demonstrated in discussions of difficult issues. Given that history, Mr. Seale’s remarks are worthy of more consideration than the clarification published yesterday:

As Magnolia Marketplace reported here, Seale had some pretty strong words for Dawson, who was the lead prosecutor in the judicial bribery cases that led to Dickie Scruggs being hauled off to prison.

Anyway, Seale was a little upset because I didn’t talk to him afterward to get a completely clear picture of what he meant before I posted the original entry. Fair enough.

So after a 15-minute phone conversation with Seale, here’s what we know:

Seale said he has no problem with Dawson writing a book about the Scruggs cases per se. The issue is Dawson profiting from work he performed while he was a federal prosecutor. (Dawson has since retired from the post.)

“I think a prosecutor should be held to a higher standard,” Seale said. Continue reading “White Knight takes issue with author of Kings of Tort”

Saturday Music: Dedicated to Alan Lange, Tom Dawson, Geoff Pender and of course Lecky King

Writers of nonfiction should always have their facts straight.
And
Reviewers of books should actually read the books they rate.
But
Misgendering Lecky King is a frequent mistake.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixqbc7X2NQY]