Defense attorneys in Scruggs case seek more information from prosecutors

Published 9:23 pm Monday, December 31, 2007

Defense attorneys in the judicial bribery case of prominent attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs are asking a federal judge to order prosecutors to turn over affidavits and other evidence they say they are yet to receive.

In a 14-page motion defense attorneys also seek a hearing so the court can consider whether there will be enough time to review the requested items before the Feb. 25 trial.

A grand jury n Oxford indicted Scruggs, his son and law partner Zach, and three others in November on charges they conspired to pay a state court judge $50,000 for a favorable ruling in a dispute with other lawyers over $26.5 million in Hurricane Katrina legal fees.

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The indictments quote from conversations between Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey and attorney Timothy Balducci, who allegedly paid Lackey the bribe money on behalf of Richard Scruggs.

“We have the right to have experts listen to the original recordings,” Ashland attorney Tony Farese, who represents Zach Scruggs, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. He said it was going to take time to go through material, some of which was received on Dec. 26.

Farese declined to speculate when the team could press its discovery case before Magistrate S. Allan Alexander. The court had set a Dec. 27 deadline for delivery of evidence to defense attorneys.

According to the defense motion, the government has produced about 150 separate recordings, some of which are “hard to understand.”

Among documents delivered on Dec. 26 were 13 cassette tapes of conversations between Balducci and Lackey.

Defense attorneys are also seeking records and reports, memos and statements from defendants, Balducci or Lackey. They’re also asking for each defendant’s prior criminal record and copies of anything taken by prosecutors that belongs to the defendants.

The request specifically seeks 14 items, including audio and video recordings, and anything provided to the government by Balducci. They also want the results of any polygraph Balducci may have taken.