Air Scruggs may be grounded no longer. Scruggs has filed a motion, not opposed by the United States, to allow his private jet to take to the air once more, for the use of his attorneys in the criminal actions against him in Mississippi and Alabama. As a condition of release, U.S. Magistrate S. Allan Alexander ordered on November 28 that Scruggs not use his plane except for charitable and emergency purposes. But Scruggs’ attorney, John Keker, is a busy guy and flying commercial is apparently just not in the cards for him — thus the motion.
Here are some other relevant documents from the case docket, brought to you by the continuing miracle of PACER.
A proposed order for the judge to sign regarding the plane. (I am not well versed in criminal cases, except for clerking for a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix after my first year of law school, but in civil cases, in my experience most federal judges write their own orders, unlike state court judges, and don’t want you to submit proposed orders). [UPDATE: I’m told by those who practice in federal court in northern Mississippi that it is a local rule that a proposed order must be submitted].
The scheduling order in the case. Note the rapidly upcoming deadlines for discovery and motion practice, and the January trial date. I wouldn’t expect any of these dates will be kept, but the whole picture suggests the government is ready to go.
Pro hac vice application on behalf of John Keker. Keker, if you do not already know it, is one of the biggest of the big-time defense lawyers, and is based in San Francisco. He previously has been defending Scruggs against a charge of criminal contempt of court in Alabama federal court.
William Quin, a lawyer with Joey Langston’s firm in Booneville, Mississippi, has been representing Scruggs lately. Langston, after being so prominent in the first few days of the Scruggs scandal, has been markedly less visible in recent days. I wonder why.
If you desire additional coverage beyond that of the Scruggs Nation, please refer to Y’all Politics, Walter Olson at Overlawyered and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, all of which have had simply Scruggsational coverage of these events.
UPDATE: The New York Times breaks its silence on the Scruggs scandal, which was almost as deafening and protracted as that of Mississippi AG Jim Hood, with this story. (Hat tip: lotus). Better late than never. The story is pretty good, and points to further federal investigation of Scruggs in other legal battles, including between Scruggs and attorney Charles Merkel. Jr. I’ve been looking at that myself, along with reading for background a couple of books — Assuming the Risk: the Mavericks, the Lawyers, and the Whistle-Blowers Who Beat Big Tobacco, by Michael Orey; and The Rule of Lawyers, by Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, whom you may know from the websites Overlawyered and Point of Law and from numerous brilliant articles like this one in Reason Magazine.