ABERDEEN – Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter will plead guilty to lying to investigators looking into allegations Richard “Dickie” Scruggs bribed him for favors in a legal-fees case.
U.S. District Court documents filed mid-afternoon today show the court has set a 2 p.m. Thursday change-of-plea hearing on Count 5 of his Jan. 1 indictment accusing him of being part of the conspiracy and other crimes associated with it.
It appears DeLaughter will plead guilty only to the lying charge, not to allowing himself to be bribed or to mail fraud connected to documents in the case.
The case, Wilson v. Scruggs, is an active lawsuit claiming Scruggs still owes W. Roberts Wilson legal fees from their collaboration on national asbestos lawsuits.
DeLaughter was set to go to trial Aug. 17.
Likely witnesses in that trial are already in the Lafayette County Jail – Scruggs, former Booneville attorney Joey Langston and former state auditor Steven Patterson of New Albany.
Langston is serving federal prison time for a 2008 guilty plea in the DeLaughter case. Patterson is serving federal prison time for a guilty plea in the attempted bribery of Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City. Scruggs is serving time for both.
Lots of speculation surrounded whether he would plead guilty to any of the charges or whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office would offer a plea deal.
The hearing is before Judge Glen H. Davidson.
Scruggs pleaded guilty to bribing DeLaughter back in February. He got extra prison time on top of his five-year sentence for his guilty plea in the Lackey case.
• Read Wednesday’s Daily Journal for more details. Watch for developments on NEMS360.com.
Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal