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Scruggs’ former lawyer, co-defendant plead guilty to bribery scheme

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 15, 2008

Scruggs’ former lawyer, co-defendant plead guilty to bribery scheme

Trial lawyer Joey Langston, who has defended Scruggs in court in the past, and former state Auditor Steven Patterson, one of Scruggs’ original four co-defendants, both entered guilty pleas last week and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Scruggs and two others from his firm, son Zach and attorney Sidney Backstrom, are the remaining defendants facing charges that they offered Lafayette Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey $40,000 for a favorable ruling in a $26.5 million attorneys fees dispute. The fees were earned when 640 Hurricane Katrina cases against State Farm Insurance Cos. were settled

Patterson was business partners with attorney Timothy Balducci, who pleaded guilty soon after the Nov. 28 indictment and apparently led the feds to Langston, with whom he previously worked at The Langston Law Firm.

Federal prosecutors allege that Langston helped Dickie Scruggs attempt to bribe Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter in another of Scruggs’ attorneys fees dispute, this one over attorneys fees from asbestos suits.

“It was… part of the conspiracy that Richard “Dickie” Scruggs told Joseph C. Langston that he could arrange for… DeLaughter to be considered for a U.S. District Judge appointment and that Langston should convey that information through his co-conspirators,” the indictment says.

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This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.