Truthfully, few reporters really expected the U.S. Attorney's Office to let disgraced Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter plead guilty to anything.
Lots of folks thought somebody really wanted BD to go through a trial on charges he allowed himself to be bribed by Richard "Dickie" Scruggs and others to subvert a legal-fees lawsuit filed years ago by then-Jackson attorney W. Roberts Wilson against Scruggs.
But by mid-afternoon today, it was clear BD will plead guilty to lying to investigators into these allegations. He faces 20 years in prison.
Not sure, but the other counts may be dismissed or at least held in abeyance until they get something from DeLaughter, like the full story?
But 20 years is better than the 85 he faced, if convicted on all five counts of his January indictment.
It will be interesting to see what the plea agreement looks like and how much about the bribery scheme will be revealed.
We won't get any testimony from Scruggs or Joey Langston, Steve Patterson or Timothy Balducci.
We won't get any testimony from Trent Lott or BD's former boss, ex-Hinds D.A. Ed Peters, who apparently got the golden parachute in this case without being indicted.
So, what will we really know when DeLaughter pleads guilty? I don't know.
But I suspect quite a few people breathed a sigh of relief that there won't be a trial. Dirty laundry, you know.
Is this the end of the three years of judicial bribery scandal investigations in North Mississippi and elsewhere?
The case these charges are about – Wilson v. Scruggs - is alive in Hinds County and also in federal court.
Maybe its going to trial will be the only way the public hears the details.
But that would occur only if they don't settle the cases.
Hang in there, guys.
Reporting from Aberdeen Thursday... patsy