By NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Former famed Oxford ligitator Richard “Dickie” Scruggs asks to return to prison while his legal appeals play out in what’s called the Scruggs II bribery case.
Friday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected his legal team’s arguments and upheld his 2009 conviction for improperly influencing then-Hinds circuit judge, Bobby DeLaughter, who presided over a legal-fees lawsuit against Scruggs and others.
The government insists Scruggs tempted an ambitious DeLaughter with the promise of support to gain a federal judgeship.
Scruggs, 66, insists it was protected political speech, not a bribe, but the 5th Circuit rejected that argument. His team also pressed that “serious constitutional questions” arose from his conviction.
Monday’s motion to Senior U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson in Aberdeen says that Scruggs intends to ask the 5th Circuit three-judge panel for a rehearing and a rehearing by the full court, “and if necessary” petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a review, although this final appeal comes at that court’s discretion.
Last November, Davidson ordered Scruggs’ release on $1 million bond while the DeLaughter case appeal proceeded. Scruggs had just completed a five-year sentence for a guilty plea in the 2007 scheme called Scruggs I to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City, who presided over another legal-fees lawsuit against Scruggs and others.
Scruggs’ sentence in the DeLaughter case was set in early 2009 and ran at the same time as the Lackey sentence, although he still faces perhaps another 2 1/2 years to serve.
With this motion Monday, he says he doesn’t want to wait another month for the 5th Circuit’s order or his petitions to be completed.
He asks Davidson to be allowed to turn himself in to the Federal Prison Camp at Montgomery, Ala., by 2 p.m. April 29, unless the U.S. Bureau of Prisons decides differently.
DeLaughter also went to prison, but never admitted he was bribed. Rather, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about illegal conversations with a longtime associated hired by the Scruggs legal team for the case.