Referring to the Jones v. Scruggs case Mr. Horowitz says this:
Dickie Scruggs wasn't about to yield. In March 2007 he and four persons -- all future defendants -- paid Judge Henry Lackey a visit to make him an offer:This looks a bit like the story, but it is not. Much of it is untrue. It is libelous. Libelous but none one of the "four persons" would make any headway bringing suit. See New York Times v. Sullivan.
Rule in our favor and we'll make you richer. Lackey, not wanting to bring legal
troubles upon himself, quickly reported the incident to the FBI. That in turn
led to an undercover sting operation. Timothy Balducci, a New Albany, Miss. lawyer, along with former Mississippi State Auditor Steven Patterson, decided to cop a plea and work with the feds. During September 27-November 1, 2007, Balducci made three cash payments to Judge Lackey totaling $50,000. "We paid for this ruling; let's be sure it says what we want it to say," Balducci told Zach Scruggs and Sid Backstrom.
So the story of Scruggs Matter twisted as Carl Horowitz has twisted it will be the Public Opinion about the Scruggs Matter and the character of Dick Scruggs, Sidney Backstrom and Zach Scruggs.
The Real Truth about the Scruggs Matter and these individuals will be lost to history.
Out of respect for the truth, let us look at the statement, parse it, and see how the truth has been sullied.
Horowitz starts out saying Scruggs was not "about to yield" in the Jones v. Scruggs case.
"Yield" to what? There was (and is) a difference of opinion as to the relationship between the plainfiffs and defendants in Jones. Yield to what, the plaintiffs' claims? Yield to the pressue of the case, one which had been sealed at the ex parte request of the attorney for the Jones plaintiff to the judge assigned to the case, Judge Henry Lackey?
Mr. Horowitz goes on:
In March 2007 he and four persons -- all future defendants -- paid Judge Henry Lackey a visit to make him an offer: Rule in our favor and we'll make you richer.Tim Balducci was a longtime friend of Judge Henry Lackey. He met with Judge Lackey to "earwig" him about the Jones Case. Lackey had already earwigged with Grady
Tollison, the attorney for the plaintiffs in the case and consented to sign and did sign an order sealing the file in the case. Defendants were not made aware of the "motion" to seal the file. Nor were they made aware that Tollison had earwigged Judge Lackey.
Tim Balducci was the only person to meet with his friend Judge Lackey. Dick Scruggs and "four persons" did not "pay" a visit to Judge Lackey. (Interesting but not so clever use of the verb "paid" by Mr. Horowitz.)
Balducci did not ask Lackey to rule in favor of defendants in the case. The case could only go to arbitration. That was the agreement between the parties. Balducci did not seek a favorable ruling in the case, he only pointed out the fact of the case, that it should be in a different forum, the forum of an arbitration.
Horowitz says: "Lackey, not wanting to bring legal troubles upon himself, quickly reported the incident to the FBI. That in turn led to an undercover sting operation."
Nothing happened. Two weeks later, Lackey decided to go to the United States Attorney. He did not act "quickly" that is for certain.
This move by Judge Lackey is interesting. Why did he wait? Did he think he was being watched? Seems there something in a newspaper article in which it was said that Lackey may have been afraid he might be "investigated."
Lackey was then and still is a member of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance. He has ruled against judges who have had ex parte contact. Yet he had an ex parte contact with the attorney for the plaintiff in the Jones Case. Seems there is ex parte contact and then there is some other wrongful ex parte contact. What Balducci did in talking to Lackey, his long time friend and mentor was to have contact which was not thought to be wrongful. It was just Mississippi Earwigging.
One also must wonder whether the United States Government, the Office of the United States Attorney, was known by Lackey to be investigating persons in Mississippi which may have been targeted for possible prosecution if possible for such wrongdoing as "honest services" wire fraud.
Judge Lackey may have been a key in the "if possible prosecution" desires of the federal government, the US Attorney's Office.
In April 2007 Lackey, as a judge, agreed to become a "government agent." He agreed engage in conduct which would trap Balducci in an act of wrongdoing which would put him in jail.
But he wanted more and the record clearly shows this, he wanted to use his friend Balducci to bring down Dick Scruggs . He agreed to be a government agent to engage in an act of treachery to destroy his friend and his friend's friend.
Horowitz goes on to say:
Timothy Balducci, a New Albany, Miss. lawyer, along with former Mississippi State Auditor Steven Patterson, decided to cop a plea and work with the feds. During September 27- November 1, 2007, Balducci made three cash payments to Judge Lackey totaling $50,000. "We paid for this ruling; let's be sure it says what we wantJudge Lackey, now government agent and wearing a wire and having his phones wired, was having no success in his newly discovered role as federal government crime fighter. Nothing was forthcoming from Balducci which he might use to succeed in getting Scruggs under some federal government prosecution.
it to say," Balducci told Zach Scruggs and Sid Backstrom.
Things changed in August. Lackey became aware that his friend Balducci was in trouble, real trouble and was looking for some success.
Balducci had embarked on the formation of a new law firm. It was with Steve Patterson. Patterson was not a lawyer. They had offices in Mississippi and Washington, D.C. They had already enlisted a former United States Magistrate and a Mississippi circuit judge to appear on the their letterhead. There were others. But the firm was broke. In addition, members of the Mississippi legal fraternity were moving in on the question of whether the Balducci Patterson firm was not a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct because Patterson was not a lawyer.
Balducci put a good front but he was clearly in trouble, maybe even having a nervous breakdown. He was acting as if he had become manic.
Lackey certainly must have sensed this. It was then that he told his friend Balducci that he, Lackey, was in trouble and needed money. Lackey offered to help Balducci if Balducci would help him. Lackey said he needed $40,000. Lackey said he needed it from Scruggs. He said he would order the Jones Case to arbitration.
Lackey had a wire on his body when he talked with Balducci about his desire for money and Balducci's acquiescence. Balducci was caught. He was in deep trouble. He began to talk to the United States Government, the people who were working with Judge Lackey.
Facing many years in prison, he agreed to become a government agent to extend the Lackey "bribe" to Dick Scruggs and Sidney Backstrom and Zach Scruggs, Dick Scruggs 33 year old son.
He succeeded, and with Defendants Sruggs and Backstrom on tape showing various levels of participation or knowledge about what Balducci was supposedly working out with Judge Lackey (the "bribe" was not a bribe at all at this time because Judge Lackey was not really offerng a bribe), the government secured indictments from the grand jury against Dick Scruggs, Sidney Backstrom, Zach Scruggs, Tim Balducci and Steve Patterson.
(It is interesting to note that the grand jury was sitting and supposedly ready to consider such information about Scruggs and others.)