Zach Scruggs: Witnesses will help prove innocence

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Zach Scruggs insists he needs key testimony to show he’s innocent of charges that sent him to prison, he says in a federal court filing Monday.
He says that because he must prove his innocence at an April 25 hearing, he needs to show Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. “that all persons who could offer proof that (he) did not know of any payment to Judge (Henry) Lackey” be permitted to do so as efficiently as possible.
Efficiency is found in taking sworn statements, called depositions, ahead of time, he says through his attorney, Edward “Chip” Robertson Jr. of Jefferson City, Mo.
Biggers set the hearing in Oxford in response to Scruggs’ motion last fall to vacate his 2008 conviction and sentence, which also cost him his legal career.
Scruggs, now 36, of Oxford pleaded guilty to knowing about but not reporting that a colleague had an illegal conversation about a case with Lackey.
Scruggs’ new filing insists that advance testimony will help sort out issues for the court, especially from Lackey, ex-Booneville attorney Joey Langston and FBI agent William Dulaney.
About some of the witnesses he wants to question prior to the hearing, Robertson 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 simultaneously represent Langston in that other bribery case.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com