Plenty of news today, and some links to commentary:
As part of Timothy Balducci’s guilty plea, the feds confirm that Balducci has been “substantially” assisting them in their case against the other defendants. Per the sub-only WSJ: “People familiar with the case said the government has recordings of Mr. Scruggs that include evidence beyond that alluded to in the indictment.” Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker observes that the feds might have interviewed Balducci on any number of other matters, such as where “there are bodies buried,” in his own memorable phrase.
A Jan. 22 trial date has been set in the case.
Where’s John Keker? wonders Folo: “[Billy] Quin was sure doing all the talking for Team Scruggs yesterday”.
David Rossmiller employs the verb “to Scruggs”, and numerous commentators read the lawyer’s withdrawal from representation of Katrina cases as a step he would not have taken had the new criminal charges not loomed very seriously indeed.
Y’All Politics keeps wondering where AG Jim Hood is. It also notices that former Mississippi AG Mike Moore, a figure well known to longterm readers of this site, seems to be involved with the doings of the now Scruggs-less Scruggs Katrina Group. Martin Grace finds irony in that lawyer consortium’s approach to its own issues of “emergency management”, as well as in its solicitation of whistleblowers.
X Curmudgeon notes Scruggs’s long history of skating close to the edge on use of confidential informants: “some lawyers would argue [that] his success has depended heavily on his willingness to break the rules, or to play outside the rules.” Regarding John Grisham’s statement that his friend Scruggs would not have gotten involved in a “boneheaded bribery scam that is not in the least bit sophisticated”.
Isn’t it great having friends like John Grisham? In other words, if it had been a SOPHISTICATED bribery scheme, then, yeah, sure, he could see Dickie doing that. But not a boneheaded scam.
White Collar Crime Prof speculates about the shape of a Scruggs defense based on the twin themes of “it’s too boneheaded for smart guys like us”, and hanging Balducci out to dry.
Not to mention hoping that the tape recordings aren’t too damning.
Update: A new post from David Rossmiller ties together several loose threads mentioned above relating to Katrina litigation, confidential informants, the Renfroe documents and AG Hood. Our earlier coverage, by the way, can be reached by links from here.