SCRUGGS UPDATE: Biggers orders government to respond

OXFORD – Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. today ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to respond to Zach Scruggs’ motion to throw out his 2008 conviction and sentence in a wider judicial bribery case.

Biggers’ order gave prosecutors 30 days to respond to the Scruggs motion.

About a month ago, Scruggs of Oxford filed his motion to vacate the conviction for which he spent 14 months in prison and remains on supervised release.

His attorneys cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s new change in the so-called “honest services” crime that narrows it only to bribery or kickback schemes.

Scruggs said he pleaded guilty to knowing that an associate, Timothy Balducci, wrongfully spoke to Circuit Judge Henry Lackey about helping Scruggs’ father, Richard Scruggs, with a legal-fees lawsuit before Lackey in Lafayette circuit court.

The crime, known as misprision of a felony, is not part of the honest-services statute, Scruggs contends.

He also says he is innocent of all allegations and wants a hearing to prove it.

For more details, read Friday’s Daily Journal.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal