DeLaughter asks out of Scruggs hearing next week

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Former Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter asked a federal judge Friday not to force him to appear for a hearing which Richard F. “Dickie” Scruggs demands he attend next week.
“Not only can he not afford to miss work and jeopardize his employment,” states his motion to get out of the subpoena, “it is not in his interest to become part of the media circus this hearing for Scruggs is likely to attract.”
DeLaughter and Scruggs of Oxford were indicted together in 2009 on federal charges that Scruggs bribed DeLaughter to rule in his favor on a legal-fees lawsuit against Scruggs and others.
Scruggs pleaded guilty to one count, and DeLaughter pleaded guilty to obstructing the federal investigation. Both got prison time for their pleas.
In the motion to quash, DeLaughter says all he will do, if compelled to the witness stand, is assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
He also says he’s still serving the supervised release part of his sentence, which apparently is within the eastern Louisiana federal courts district.
“It is incongrous to counsel that this court would wish to grant such permission for such a meaningless appearance,” the motion adds.
Next week in Oxford, Scruggs’ attorneys will try to prove his innocence in the case and that the crime for which he was charged is no crime but political speech.
Prosecutors insist it is a crime that Scruggs said he would recommend DeLaughter to Scruggs’ brother-in-law, then-U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, for consideration of a federal judgeship.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com