By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The guns are loaded and ready for fire, as the U.S.A. versus Zach Scruggs tees up for federal court Monday.
Scruggs, 36, of Oxford contends – for this hearing – that prosecutor Robert Norman should be disqualified from participation in the government’s legal team.
He claims Norman knew about false testimony against him, which prejudiced the court against him.
Monday’s hearing is Round One in a two-round Northern District fight over Scruggs’ 2010 motion asking the court to vacate his 2008 sentence and conviction in a guilty plea to knowing about but not reporting that a colleague spoke illegally to Circuit Judge Henry Lackey, who presided over a legal-fees lawsuit against Scruggs and others.
On May 23, Senior Judge Neal B. Biggers will hear issues relating to that motion.
But first, it’s about Norman, who is the only remaining prosecutor from the 2007 indictments that ultimately sent Scruggs, his father Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and three others to prison. Everybody but Zach Scruggs pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe Lackey to send the case to arbitration.
This past week was marked by caustic legal assaults by both sides over Norman’s participation.
Friday, the government re-rebutted a Scruggs filing claiming that while Scruggs’ attorneys did not plan to call Norman as a witness, his allegedly wrongful actions during the 2008 proceedings were enough to keep him from the prosecution team.
In the latest response, the U.S. termed Scruggs’ allegations “baseless and malicious,” saying the only real issue before the court will be whether Scruggs can prove he actually is innocent of the original charges against him.
The government included various documents from the original case to support its contentions that what Scruggs claims to be new information is old round “to be re-litigated.”
Monday’s hearing starts at 10 a.m. in the U.S. Courthouse in Oxford.