UPDATE: Scruggs offers more reasons to question key players under oath

By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal

OXFORD – Questions prior to an April 25 hearing are key, says Zach Scruggs in a federal court motion today.

Scruggs’ new filing insists that advance testimony will help sort out issues for the court, especially from former Circuit Judge Henry Lackey, ex-Booneville attorney Joey Langston and FBI Agent William Dulaney.

The Oxford man is asking the U.S. District Court to overturn his 2008 conviction and sentence related to a judicial bribery scandal that rocked Mississippi’s legal community.

In March 2008, he pleaded guilty to knowing but not reporting that a colleague had an illegal conversation about a case with Lackey.

His father and three associates pleaded guilty to one count of a scheme to bribe Lackey, who presided over a legal-fees lawsuit against the Scruggses and others.

In today’s motion, which responds to a government motion last week, Scruggs says prosecutors “cannot substitute (their) spin for evidence developed under the crucible of cross-examination of witnesses under oath.

About some of the witnesses he wants to question prior to the hearing, Scruggs’ attorney, William Reed of Jackson, writes:

•Lackey’s testimony is important to Scruggs’ claim of actual innocent.

“Since it was Judge Lackey and the government who conceived the bribe and asked Mr. (Timothy) Balducci to pay it, petitioner could not have planned the bribe or known of its planning.”

• Agent Dulaney is important for another reason, especially about whether information favorable to Scruggs came from a Nov. 19, 2007, meeting about which no information was provided by the government.

• Langston testimony goes to allegations that the government lied to the court about whether Scruggs knew about another judicial bribery case.

• Ashland attorney Anthony Farese’s alleged verbal waiver with Scruggs to allow Farese to simulataneously represent Langston in that other bribery case.

• Read Tuesday’s Daily Journal or come back to NEMS360.com.