Scruggs' attorneys want all evidence
OXFORD, Miss. - The defense team of prominent trial lawyer Richard "Dickie" Scruggs says the federal government has not produced all evidence it has obtained in the judicial bribery case against Scruggs and three others.
At issue are several known and unknown pieces of evidence, including anything found at the Scruggs Law Firm office during a raid by federal investigators just a day before an indictment was handed down in November.
"Defendants request copies of, and the right to inspect, all books, papers, documents, data (including electronic data), photographs, and tangible objects which are material to the preparation of the defense, are intended for use by the government at trial, or were obtained from or belong to any defendant," a 14-page motion filed Friday says.
"Defendants further request that the government provide a description of, and permit defendants to inspect and photograph, all tangible objects, buildings, or places which are material to the preparation of the defense, are intended for use by the government at trial, or were obtained from or belong to any defendant."
Scruggs and son Zach and attorney Sidney Backstrom, all of the Scruggs Law Firm, and former state Auditor Steven Patterson are all scheduled to go on trial Feb. 25. The fifth co-defendant, attorney Timothy Balducci, pleaded guilty and is cooperating with federal prosecutors.
The five are alleged to have conspired to bribe Lafayette County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey in a $26.5 million dispute over Hurricane Katrina-related attorneys fees.
The motion makes 14 requests. They are:
-The Sept. 25 affidavit of FBI agent William Delaney, filed in support for a wiretap of Balducci's phone;
-Copies of the Oct. 24 application for an extension of the tap and the supporting affidavit;
-The application and affidavit for the search warrant presented at the Dec. 10 search of The Langston Law Firm, which is representing Scruggs;
-Any and all 10-day reports from the government to the Court concerning any wire interceptions;
-Any and all audio or video recordings of conversations between Balducci and Lackey that have not been produced;
-All audio or video recordings of conversations between and among the defendants that have not been produced;
-Replacement copies of audio recordings that are not decipherable, including a Nov. 1 recording made by Balducci and recordings from Patterson's telephone;
-Replacement copies of audio recordings that are not useable, including conversations between Balducci and Lackey. The motion says the recordings provided by the government do not reflect both sides of these conversations;
-Complete copies of audio recordings that either start in the middle of a conversation, have material missing or end abruptly.
-Replacement copies of video recordings that are not useable;
-Transcripts of all audio recordings. The motion says no transcripts have been provided;
-Access to each recording's original copy;
-Any evidence obtained from the Nov. 27 raid on the Scruggs Law Firm; and
-All relevant phone records obtained by the government.
The motion also asks that a hearing be held to determine if the Feb. 25 trial date will allow each of the defense teams enough time to properly review the evidence if it is provided by the government.
"The government is still holding evidence material to defendants' defense and their preparation of pre-trial motions," the motion says. "With trial now less than two months away, and the deadline for pretrial motions currently set for Jan. 21, 2008, each day of delay in producing this evidence prejudices defendants."