Paul Quinn’s Weblog

News from Ole Miss and Oxford

The motion for downward departure

Posted by paulquinn on November 13, 2008



Here is a copy of a story I wrote with different information we did not have room for at Thedm:

In a filing filed Wednesday in the United States case against Joey Langston the U.S. attorneys ask for Langston to serve less time in prison because he suffered a heart attack, had a “possible intruder” at his home and for going beyond exceptions to help the government with its current investigation.

Langston pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in alleged bribes taking place between Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters, Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter and others.
The motion for “downward departure,” obtained byThe Daily Mississippian outlines Langston’s work on the case since pleading guilty in January 7, 2008.
According to the document, “On October 3, 2008, a possible intruder was found on the Langston property in the early morning hours by Langston’s oldest son, Keaton. The intruder was not apprehended, but was driving a late model van which appeared (from an interior light being on) to be packed with electronic equipment.”
The incident is currently under investigation by local law enforcement, the document shows.
The judge is also asked to consider a heart attack Langston suffered shortly after pleading guilty as another reason to reduce possible prison time.

On Feb. 7 Langston had a heart catheterization due to the heart attack suffered weeks earlier, court records said. Langston had the surgery at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth.

The investigation into DeLaughter occurred shortly after Scruggs was indicted in November 2007. The alleged scheme goes: Scruggs and Langston hired Peters, a long time friend of Delaughter, to influence
the outcome of a fee dispute case, Wilson v. Scruggs.
Delaughter may have been offered a federal judgeship for helping out the Scruggs team. Federal judges are picked by the president based on senators recommendations. Former Senator Trent Lott is Scruggs’ brother-in-law, Scruggs is alleged to have offered his influence to get the federal judgeship for DeLaughter. Lott has not been implicated in any case or investigation. 
Since cooperating with federal prosecutors Langston has produced flight logs, office calenders and financial records from January 2005 to August 2006, the alleged period Scruggs used Langston and Peters to influence DeLaughter.

As recently as Oct. 23 Langston appeared before the grand jury at the federal courthouse in Oxford. His testimony, “exceeded government expectations,” the motion says.

The motion also discusses several other meetings Langston had with assistant U.S. attorneys and the Department of Justice Integrity Section. They debriefed Lanston about the Wilson case, P.L. Blake, Peters, “Scruggs’ involvement in the DeLaughter conspiracy,” and several other cases under investigation.
P.L. Blake was a central figure in the original Scruggs scandal, Blake allegedly made millions cutting newspaper clippings and following politics during Scruggs’ case against the tobacco industry. Scruggs made nearly $1 billion in suing big tobacco. 
Other cases being investigated are the “Capatin D’s (Foradori Case)…(and) The United States v. Danny Dillard and Jason Stanford,” according to the motion.

Currently Scruggs, his son Zach Scruggs and Sidney Backstrom are serving time in federal prison for their role in a bribery scheme.

Two others, Timothy Balducci and Stephen Patterson, have not yet been sentenced because prosecutors are using them for further investigations into Scruggs, DeLaughter and Peters, court records show.

“(Langston’s) plea of guilty and subsequent cooperation constituted a turning point in the Scruggs case, and substantially contributed to Dickie Scruggs’ subsequent plea of guilty …,” the filing said.

The motion said Langston helped sift through 60 or 70 boxes of files in the Wilson v Scruggs case. Langston also worked over 100 hours going through 1,750 emails seized in search of Langstons office.

The Wilson case was settled on March 26, 2008 after Langston and his attorney, Tony Farese, proposed a deal.

Scruggs pleaded guilty on March 14.
On February 21, Langston was on hand at the federal courthouse to testify at a U.S. v Scruggs hearing.
DeLaughter is well-known in Mississippi for successfully prosecuting Byron De La Beckwith for the civil rights trial for the murder of Medgar Evers.

Before Scruggs pled guilty to bribery, the Music Building on the University of Mississippi campus was named, “Richard and Dianne Scruggs Hall.” Scruggs contributed millions of dollars to the university after the tobacco settlement and asbestos cases.


4 Responses to “The motion for downward departure”

  1. paulquinn said

    So I have tried to format this post a dozen times and I just can get the paragraphs to seperate. Sorry if it is hard to read on anyone!

  2. […] a story up about the Scruggs case, which can be found here. He has a longer version of the story here, following a link to the motion I mentioned in my prior […]

  3. dudeman said

    Corrections for you Paul -> I don’t think the judge was asked to consider the heart attack specifically, Also, per the document, Langston settled with Wilson, the Wilson case was no settled.

  4. paulquinn said

    Dudeman: You are right. Sorry. The dm will run a correction tomorrow.

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