Two straight weeks of Scruggsblogging has finally caught up with me. Due to a confluence of other events often referred to as "life," I didn’t finish with all the other things that I had to do until well after midnight, so this post must of necessity be short.
Rumors of what will happen next abound, and at this point few of the things I have heard would surprise me. However, it wouldn’t be fair to the people involved to engage in rank guesswork, so like the rest of you, I’m going to sit tight and wait to see what happens next.
Many have been asking me to say something more about Trent Lott’s resignation, especially in light of this Harper’s blog post by Scott Horton speculating on all kinds of reasons Lott might have left the Senate. Read an excerpt:
Fair enough. That said, the two prominent figures in the Mississippi legal community mentioned above told me that Lott has recently engaged a well-regarded local criminal lawyer to advise him on some questions relating to the Scruggs case. There’s no crime in hiring a lawyer, but it does point to Senator Lott having on-going dealings with the U.S. Attorney handling the Scruggs case.
Might the prosecutors have asked Trent Lott, one of Washington’s political titans, to resign as part of a deal? A week ago I would have found that very far-fetched, but now I am not so sure.
Why would prosecutors do this? If Lott did anything wrong, he would be far from the only criminal in the United States Senate. Would it make a noticeable difference to have one less? However, I have trouble buying these scenarios about Lott being involved in wrongdoing, they just don’t add up for me. And, as reader Ironic pointed out in the comments yesterday, this NPR story plausibly explores Lott’s announced resignation as a precursor to registering as a lobbyist, and why he may not be talking abou it. In this instance, I’m going to go against my history and give Lott a break, and say I believe him, which is what I’ve said all along. Lott, don’t prove me wrong now!
One final thing: did you hear the criminal contempt case in Alabama against Scruggs got a new judge? If you will remember, all the judges in the Northern District of Alabama recused themselves on Scruggs’ motion to avoid the appearance of bias, because all obviously know their colleague Judge William Acker, who referred the charge to special prosecutors. Here’s an AP story on this development. And here is a pdf of the order appointing the new judge. You know, it’s just like Scruggs to show everyone up, it’s not enough to have one criminal prosecution against him, he has to have two.