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A few not so random observations on the...

A few not so random observations on the Scruggs Scandal

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 16, 2008

As we continue the process of connecting the dots, there are a few things that I would like to explore further.

1. Feds’ timing
The timing on the raid of Scruggs law offices, subsequent indictment and plea agreements seem to have happened exactly the way the Feds wanted it to. There was absolutely nothing that said that the Feds had to indict the Scruggses, Balducci, Patterson, & Backstrom at the same time. They could have picked them off one at a time, but it was pretty apparent from both the speed the plea agreements came and from the facts that the Feds have let slip out that they have all the information they need.

Remember, in one of the early court cases, a US Attorney basically told Judge Biggers that a continuance was fine, but that this was not a overly complicated case.

The government does not object to a continuance in this matter, but respectfully asserts that the case is straight forward and not sufficiently complex to require a protracted continuance.

2. Taxes
I think there are some serious tax implications to all of this money flowing around . . . both state and federal. In the Luckey trial, Dickie admitted to funnelling $10M to PL Blake through Langston’s law firm (p511). If they didn’t W2 or 1099 Blake for that money (assuming it was sent to him individually, and not some corporation), Langston may have both a federal and state tax liability associated with constructive receipt of those moneys. If Langston did W2 or 1099 those funds to Blake, Blake needed to report everything as taxable income. The same thing goes for Ed Peters that, according to Langston’s accounts, received $1,000,000 over time to ostensibly influence Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

The bottom line is that the State Tax Commission may want to investigate these matters just to make sure that the appropriate taxes were paid by all parties.

3. P.L. Blake
Heretofore, P.L. Blake has been the dark shadowy figure in the background. According to an article in the Clarion Ledger, P.L. Blake may now come very much to the forefront. During the Patterson plea appearance, the Government basically said that P.L. Blake was communicating with both Scruggs and Balducci regarding the Lackey matter. Blake, if you’ll remember, received a stream of $50,000,000 (which is apparently still being paid out) for various consulting services that Scruggs could not reasonably enunciate during the Luckey trial. There are a lot of questions, but it seems pretty apparent to me that P.L. Blake is involved in a lot of the answers.

4. Jim Hood
One can only assume by his unwillingness to engage in this case, that he is scared to follow it where it leads. This could be a careermaker case for a guy like Hood. In the Elliot Spitzer image, it could propel him to greater political heights if he plays it correctly. If he plays it like he has been, it could end his career. For him to have people that close to him, that have donated that much money to him, that have benefitted that much from him, that have supported him to have admitted guilt in the way that they have . . . it is absolutely unthinkable for him not to vigorously pursue justice here. His only hope with his current strategy is to hide in the bunker and change the subject. The question is whether or not the Clarion Ledger and NE MS Daily Journal news departments will give him a pass or force him to answer . . . for real . . . on the record.

5. Campaign Finance
This whole deal is going to be about following the money. We have gotten tipped off to some fascinating things.

Here is a report of how some 527 contributions made their way to Ronnie Musgrove his 2004 campaign. Look at entries 3, 4 & 5.

Also, we received word that there were some interesting campaign finance dynamics in Judge Jaye Bradley’s past. If you’ll remember, Judge Jaye Bradley was the chancellor that originally sided with Mike Moore in 2000 on the Padhuship, and then, facing certain overrule from the Supremes changed her decision in 2006 making way for the $20M/year to rightfully return to the state treasury. However, for years, Bradley was an iron wall supporting the Padnuship.

Although she showed no campaign finance for the last two cycles, in her first cycle in 1999, she raised $66,000+ to win that seat. Of that, $7,000 came from Dickie Scruggs himself. Charles Mikhail of the Scruggs firm tossed in another $1,000. Judge Bradley, then a sitting DA, put in $14K into her own judicial campaign. I would characterize it as marginally unusual that a DA could throw $14K in their own race. It’s not unheard of, but it is unusual. However, It is a known fact that Scruggs was actively backing campaign loans at this time to people like Amy Tuck. Could this have been a Scruggs backed loan? It’s certainly possible.

Make of it what you will, but if some web lackey like me can find all of this stuff, imagine what the federal government can find.

Folks, I fear we are just getting started.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.