By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – One of Zach Scruggs’ former attorneys is back on the team.
Former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore informed the U.S. District Court on Thursday that he and co-counsel David Lee Martin of Flowood will help Scruggs try to convince the court to throw out his 2008 conviction and prison sentence.
Scruggs, 36, of Oxford pleaded guilty to one count that he knew about but did not report an illegal conversation between a colleague and the presiding judge in a legal-fees lawsuit against him, his father Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and others.
Moore was part of the original defense team, so it wasn’t immediately clear why he resubmitted his name to the court.
Late Thursday, Moore said he’d been on the case since the beginning but that somehow his name was dropped from the court’s electronic filing system.
So, he said, he felt it was important to get back in the official listings.
Zach Scruggs says new evidence and a U.S. Supreme Court decision put his case into a new light and prove his innocence.
His motion to vacate, filed last fall, asks the court to allow him to prove it.
Senior Judge Neal Biggers set a hearing on the motion for May 23 in Oxford.
Scruggs’ legal team indicates it will subpoena numerous players in the original case, including Joseph Langston, Dickie Scruggs, Steve Patterson, Timothy Balducci, Judge Henry Lackey, Ashland attorney Tony Farese, prosecutor Robert Norman and former prosecutors Tom Dawson and David Sanders.
Originally, Scruggs, his father and three others were indicted on allegations that they attempted to bribe Judge Lackey. Everyone but Zach Scruggs pleaded guilty, then Zach pleaded to the lesser charge. They all got prison sentences.
Moore got into trouble with Biggers at Zach Scruggs’ sentencing hearing, when Moore insisted on telling Biggers repeatedly that his client did not know about other issues in the case.
A book about the Scruggs case and new affidavits about related issues show that prosecutors falsely told Biggers that Zach Scruggs knew about another judicial bribery case and that Langston, who had pleaded guilty to that case, was prepared to testify to those alleged facts.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.