Zach Scruggs wants father Dickie's testimony

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 4, 2011

Dickie Scruggs

OXFORD, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Zach Scruggs, the son of disgraced plaintiffs attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, has petitioned to have his father brought in to testify in a hearing later this month.

On Monday, Zach Scruggs filed a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum with Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. Such a writ is used to get permission for a prisoner to be brought in to testify. The blog NMissCommentator reported the news.

Dickie Scruggs is currently confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Ky.

Zach Scruggs says in the petition that his father's presence is "necessary" for a hearing set for 10 a.m. May 23.

Zach Scruggs wants the guilty plea he entered in his father's judicial bribery scheme to be vacated.

Last August, he submitted papers to U.S. District Court that claim he received inadequate representation from attorney Tony Farese and was forced to enter his guilty plea. He pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony -- knowing of the bribery scheme yet not reporting it -- after being charged as part of an alleged conspiracy in 2007.

Zach Scruggs also says federal prosecutors claimed the testimony of attorney Joey Langston, who represented Dickie Scruggs in a case at the center of another judicial bribery scheme, would implicate Zach Scruggs.

Zach Scruggs alleges Farese secretly negotiated a plea for Langston and Dickie Scruggs while he was his attorney in 2007.

The two Scruggses, attorneys Sidney Backstrom and Timothy Balducci and former state Auditor Steven Patterson were charged with attempting to bribe Lafayette County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey with $50,000 for a favorable ruling in a dispute over Hurricane Katrina attorneys fees.

All five pleaded guilty, and Dickie Scruggs received a five-year prison sentence.

In the case Zach Scruggs says Langston was supposedly going to implicate him, Balducci teamed with Langston to represent Dickie Scruggs in another fees dispute.

It is alleged that the two paid $1 million to former Hinds District Attorney Ed Peters, who used to work with Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter, to bribe the judge with the promise of a federal judgeship.

Dickie Scruggs pleaded guilty to the scheme, receiving an extra 2 1/2 years in prison. Langston received three years when he pleaded guilty to the scheme.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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