Wilson v. Scruggs lawsuits appear to be over

OXFORD – Roberts Wilson’s lawsuit ended Monday against principals in separate judicial bribery scandals.
Special appointed judge David Hittner of Houston, Texas, signed the dismissal order in U.S. District Court against the last two defendants – former Hinds District Attorney Ed Peters and former New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci.
Details of the settlements were not immediately available.
The two men were the last to come to terms with Wilson, whose lawsuit claimed that the judicial scandal surrounding then-Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter so tainted his original lawsuit over legal fees that he wanted damages.
Attorneys for Wilson and Peters were not available for comment. Balducci, who represented himself, is in federal prison.
Wilson, who lives in Oxford, filed this lawsuit in January 2009. DeLaughter presided over the original Wilson v. Scruggs suit.
The defendants in the 2009 action were Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, some Scruggs-related businesses, Peters, former state Auditor Steven A. Patterson of New Albany, Balducci and Zach Scruggs, Dickie’s son.
The Scruggses and the businesses settled with Wilson on Nov. 16, 2009. Patterson settled in May.
Hittner’s action apparently wraps up Wilson’s decades-long dispute with Dickie Scruggs and others with whom Wilson worked for legal fees on national asbestos litigation.
The 2009 lawsuit sought damages from Dickie Scruggs, Peters, Balducci, Patterson and Zach Scruggs because Wilson claimed they were part of a scheme to bribe DeLaughter.
Sworn statements show Zach Scruggs had no part in that plot, although Balducci admitted his own involvement soon after Wilson filed the lawsuit.
Peters, who got immunity in the DeLaughter case, wasn’t a figure in a 2007 scheme to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City for help in another legal-fees case, Jones v. Scruggs.
Former Booneville attorney Joey Langston admitted his part in the DeLaughter scandal and settled with Wilson before the lawsuit was filed. Patterson settled in May.
Hittner was appointed to the case because North Mississippi ran out of judges to preside after the two circuit court judicial bribery cases against Dickie Scruggs and others ran their course, resulting in prison terms for everybody but Peters.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy Brumfield / NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio