Justice for Sale: Zach Scruggs Pleads Guilty - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

03/21/08

Justice for Sale: Zach Scruggs Pleads Guilty

By David Kenney
david@wlbt.net

Zach Scruggs pled guilty to misprision of a felony, which is a much smaller charge than his dad's conspiracy charge. This means he failed to report knowledge of a felony, to the appropriate authorities, or in this case, his father's plans to bribe a Mississippi judge for a favorable judgement.

The 33-year-old Scruggs is the last of six defendants in this high profile judicial corruption case to plead guilty. Scrugg's law partner Sidney Backstrom, attorneys Joey Langston, Timothy Balducci and former Mississippi state auditor Steve Patterson also pled guilty to conspiracy charges.

A grand jury indicted the five men in November on charges they conspired to pay Judge Henry Lackey $50,000 for a favorable ruling in a dispute over $26.5 million in fees, from a settlement of Hurricane Katrina insurance lawsuits.

Prosecutors are recommending three years probation for the younger Scruggs. He could also be fined $250,000. His father could face five years in prison.

Even though six have pled guilty in this federal investigation, that doesn't mean it's over. Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby Delaughter and former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters have been linked to the judicial bribery scandal, but are not being charged with anything at this time.

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