Now, Scruggs says that this action was an “exercise of political influence,” which is constitutionally protected speech, not a crime.
“Although this behavior was unethical,” his motion states about the attempt to influence, it is not a bribe because the illegal Peters-DeLaughter conversations based on a long friendship lacked a “quid pro quo,” which is one favor for another.
Scruggs, 65, pleaded guilty twice about attempts to improperly influence judges presiding over lawsuits against him and others.
Today’s motion to vacate deals only with the DeLaughter case, not the one directed at then-Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City. It also shows Scruggs is in a Montgomery, Ala., facility after initially serving time in Ashland, Ky.
The appeal comes just under the wire for a one-year filing deadline from the June 24, 2010, U.S. Supreme Court decision on which Scruggs bases his appeal.