Ladies and gents, the defense you’re going to see at trial next month is this:
Ed Peters knew DeLaughter very well. So well, in fact, that DeLaughter went to him for advice sometimes on complex cases. DeLaughter thought Peters was treating these conversations as confidential. DeLaughter had no idea that Peters was sharing info with Scruggs & Co. on this matter. (Here’s where the Ed Peters con of Scruggs comes in.) Furthermore, Peters knew DeLaughter wanted the federal judgeship, and that Scruggs might hold sway with Lott on that issue. So Peters offers up his services as intermediary to Scruggs & Co., telling them that DeLaughter would sell his rulings in exchange for the judgeship. Scruggs & Co. think they’ve got themselves a heck of a deal. Meanwhile, Peters never indicates to DeLaughter that he’s involved in the case. Peters merely asks DeLaughter about it, and DeLaughter reaches out to Peters for his thoughts on decisions. He also asks him to proof drafts of orders. Peters, meanwhile, tells Scruggs & Co. that DeLaughter’s their puppet.
I’m not passing judgment on this defense, but it’s what was behind my musings that Ed Peters may “fall apart” on the stand. Ed may be singing to this tune come August.