I loved this stuff on the Scruggs hearing from Patsy Brumfield of the Daily Journal — great color.
The third-floor courtroom was packed – media, regular folks and law students, even curious attorneys from around the storied Oxford Square.
The defense tables were filled with some of the finest criminal lawyers money can buy. Keker, one of California’s and the nation’s top attorneys, reportedly charged more than Barry Bonds wanted to pay for defense during his legal troubles with Major League Baseball over his alleged steroid use.
Through it all, Dickie Scruggs – who looks like he hasn’t eaten a square meal since their Nov. 27, 2007 indictment – maintained this surreal expression on his face, which looked like he was wearing makeup. It was this fixed smile and got kind of creepy after two or three hours.
But frankly, his life is on the line. He faces something like 75 years in prison, which would just about do it for a 61-year-old man. His beloved son’s prospects and Backstrom’s are the same at this stage.
I’m not sure what my facade would look like in the same spot.
Judge Biggers started Keker off on a short leash, but increased his latitude a little bit during questioning throughout the day.
Clearly the defense strategy is to convince the judge, and a jury if necessary, that when the Scruggs firm started talking to Balducci about schmoozing Lackey, Dickie Scruggs told him directly "not to do anything illegal," as Keker characterized it. They also hammered away at the government’s "creation" of the crime and why it took Lackey six months to ask for money from Balducci.
Biggers wasn’t impressed, apparently. The indictments stick.
Also, for more information, see this story from Alyssa Schnugg of the Oxford Eagle.
The hearing continues today, according to the Daily Journal story, with arguments on motions to throw out Counts 2, 3 and 4 of the indictments, a change of venue for the trial and separate trials for Zach Scruggs and Sid Backstrom.