UPDATE: Zach Scruggs claims witness lied to grand jury

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS – A lawyer charged with trying to bribe a Mississippi judge claims a key government witness lied to the grand jury that indicted him.

Attorney Zach Scruggs asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss the indictment due to “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Scruggs, whose father and law partner, Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, also faces a judicial bribery charge, says grand jurors heard false and misleading testimony from witnesses in the case.

Zach Scruggs claims attorney Timothy Balducci's testimony mischaracterized his knowledge of the alleged conspiracy to bribe state Circuit Judge Henry Lackey.

The younger Scruggs also accuses FBI Special Agent William Delaney of giving grand jurors a misleading account of taped conversations between the suspects in the case.

Balducci already has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and is cooperating with investigators. A trial for Scruggs, his father and one of their associates, Sidney Backstrom, is scheduled to start March 31 in Oxford, Mississippi.