UNSEALED: Scruggs document notes grand jury testimony

I’m still reading, but take a look at what Dickie Scruggs says about various aspects of the government’s case that alleges he improperly influenced Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

Among the items, he says his brother-in-law, then U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, was less than enthusiastic when he told DeLaughter he could be considered, but not seriously, for a federal judgeship.

Document is attached. Read news reports on NEMS360.com.

* * *

Here are new morsels from the unsealed document filed by Scruggs as he seeks to have the conviction overturned:

• Plea details were “painstakingly” negotiated over many weeks with government counsel “to avoid alleging bribery” or its equivalent. Says he did not (and would not) plead guilty to bribery.

• Far from dangling a judgeship in front of DeLaughter, Scruggs’ brother-in-law, then U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, “deflated any aspirations DeLaughter may have entertained.” Lott testified that basically he told DeLaughter his name would not get serious consideration.

• Former Hinds D.A. Ed Peters, once DeLaughter’s boss, along with Scruggs and DeLaughter, all denied that Scruggs was a party to a quid pro quo exchange – his lawsuit for a judgeship. Peters was hired by then-attorney Joey Langston of Booneville “to get assurances that the playing field would be level,” not to get anything from DeLaughter.

• Jackson attorney John Corlew was believed to have been among lawyers who recommended DeLaughter to Lott for a federal judgeship.

• Scruggs says he first called Lott to ask about the process for judicial appointments and to mention DeLaughter’s interest. Both Lott and Sen. Thad Cochran’s agreement was necessary for the nomination, he says. Lott reportedly told DeLaughter that both senators were needed for a name to go to the President. But Lott told DeLaughter her wanted someone from the Gulf Coast, which meant Lott wasn’t going to support him.

• Peters, who was granted immunity to testify to the grand jury, said DeLaughter did not know he was getting paid $1 million to help Langston and Scruggs.

• When Langston told Scruggs that DeLaughter was interested in the federal bench, Langston said Scruggs told him he would support those interests “unequivocally,” not conditioned upon any favors. Scruggs also reportedly told Langston he had no real influence with Lott, much less President George W. Bush. Scruggs said that if he pushed Lott for DeLaughter, it would have had the reverse effect. Lott confirmed there never was any intention to provide a judgeship to DeLaughter.

• Representing Roberts Wilson in the lawsuit against Scruggs, Jackson attorney William Kirksey reportedly had an “ex parte” communication with Judge DeLaughter about orders and motions entered. Scruggs says he is willing to conduct “limited discovery” to confirm this face if the court deems it necessary.

(For other details, read Wednesday’s Daily Journal or come back to NEMS360.com)