It’s not the first time this has happened to me during the Katrina Follies, that I have trouble believing what I’m hearing. I think I am a hardened observer of these events and that nothing could shock me anymore, but then something else does.
Like the testimony by Judge Lackey yesterday about not being able to go to the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office because, he was told, Jim Hood had buckled to pressure from Dickie Scruggs to cooperate in Scruggs’ mass Katrina settlement with State Farm that netted the $26.5 million in fees at the core of the Jones v. Scruggs dispute. One can draw two inferences from this: that Lackey believed Hood was compromised because of his role in bringing about the conditions that led to the lawsuit, and two, that Lackey believed Hood was controlled by Scruggs, would rat out Lackey and quash an investigation. Just set aside the question of whether these perceptions are accurate — it is bad enough that he believed that it was unsafe and unwise to trust the state’s attorney general to deal with a bribery investigation.
Remember that Hood himself later said he would have a conflict of interest in going after people who had been commissioned to do selected work for the AG’s office, like Joey Langston and Tim Balducci, and that it would be like going after family. Remember also that he said Dickie Scruggs was one of his "confidential informants," so that would make Scruggs family too. No wonder Scruggs had such faith in his Magic Jurisdiction theory — it must have seemed he could do just about anything with impunity. Do you remember Scruggs Primetime, the Ride of the Rigsbys, the first and second acts of the Katrina Follies? All that malarkey that was said and done, and how very few questioned it? But once Lackey blew away the magic dust, it all came undone in a hurry.
My ICLB Oxford correspondent will have another report from the courtroom as the hearing continues today. I’ll post an update here when I have one.