Once in a while, you read something in the newspaper and think: “That can’t be right.” There are so many reasons this would be a dumb move. (I can almost imagine a judge studying the pre-sentence report for a loophole that gets him above five years given this galling refusal to accept, uh, responsibility. There’s also the fact that this does not seem to be the only shot the US Atty and a judge will have at Scruggs. Did they run this past Keker?). So I checked. And there on the Miss. Supreme Court docket is, filed Friday, a “Motion to Dismiss Formal Complaint.”
In case you folks aren’t keeping up, a couple of weeks ago, Dickie Scruggs entered a guilty plea in open court. During the plea hearing, the following exchange occurred:
Scruggs: I did join the conspiracy after that.
Court: So you agree—are you telling me that you did join the conspiracy, and did furnish some money to give to Judge Lackey in return for him issuing an order in your favor in this case? Is that what you’re saying? Do you disagree with that?
Scruggs: That’s what I’m saying.
Court: All right. The court finds, then, that there is a factual basis for this defendant to plead guilty to this charge. Richard Scruggs, do you plead guilty or not guilty to Count 1 of this indictment?
Scruggs: I plead guilty, Hour Honor.
Court: Since you acknowledge that you are in fact guilty as charged in Count 1; you know what your right is to a trial, you know what the maximum possible punishment is; and then the Court’s finding you’re also voluntarily pleading guilty; the Court will accept your guilty plea and enter a judgment of guilty on your plea.
That’s on page 16 of the plea transcript. You can check for yourself here.
Now, I’m going to repeat a quote from the story above: “Scruggs’ attorneys argue that the formal complaint is premature because U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. has not yet accepted his plea.”