Scruggs Nation, Day 46: a new plea and confirmation of Langston’s cooperation?

SECOND UPDATE: I have bumped this update to the top to make sure everyone sees it. I heard from Patsy Brumfield at the Daily Journal that there was an error when the story below was posted online and it is in the process of being changed.  Apparently the reference to Tony Farese, as a commenter predicted, was a mistake and he was not the one who said Joey Langston is cooperating with authorities.   

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Another report from the Daily Journal’s Patsy Brumfield on Scruggs developments. Seems to me the big news is in the fifth paragraph, which I’ve emphasized with boldface.

OXFORD – Federal prosecutors still haven’t given defense attorneys information about the search warrant for Booneville attorney Joey Langston’s office, among numerous other documents, videotapes and wiretaps they say the government has.

The search warrant for the Langston Law Firm, a new defense motion states, calls for “all records relating” to two cases in which the firm represented famed Oxford litigator Richard “Dickie” Scruggs.

Scruggs, his son Zach, Oxford attorney Sidney Backstrom, former state Auditor Steven Patterson and New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci were indicted Nov. 28, accused of trying to bribe a judge for a favorable ruling in a $26.5 million Katrina legal fees lawsuit. Balducci pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government.

A source close to the case told the Daily Journal on Wednesday that Patterson has changed his innocent plea for leniency and is helping prosecutors. His status and other sealed documents are expected to become public Monday, when one legal observer said more issues of the case will be clarified.

In a reportedly unrelated case, sources also say Langston was indicted and is cooperating with investigators. Langston’s attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland,said.

Farese himself said that? Whoa. I guess we can take that as authoritative.  As I mentioned, I think it was yesterday, the final date for plea agreements in the Scruggs case is February 11.  If the Langston matter involved other charges, some other timeline would apply in any case that resulted. To represent Langston while continuing to represent Zach Scruggs without a conflict of loyalty ensuing, Farese must have determined there is no reasonable grounds for believing either the younger Scruggs or Langston would testify adversely to each other’s interests.   

UPDATE: Check out the excellent reader comment below from Watching Closely. Point of the comment is that maybe the Journal story has an incomplete sentence or something else that will require a clarification or correction. I’ve reproduced the story above just as it appeared online (except for adding the boldface), and you will notice there must be some kind of error, typographical or otherwise. "Sources" are identified as saying that Langston was indicted and is cooperating, and if Farese were the "sources," there would be no need to cite other sources — who cares what they think if the man’s attorney is telling the tale?  In addition, there is a period after "investigators," not a comma, as we would expect if the information were being attributed to Farese.  

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Scruggs Nation, Day 46: a new plea and confirmation of Langston’s cooperation?

  1. watching closely

    In my opinion, that is a poorly written paragraph in the Journal. Although the rumor is that Langston has been charged and is cooperating, if he did plead to an information it is sealed as it does not show up on PACER and Farese would risk the ire of the Court to speak to the press of sealed documents. I’m betting we see a retraction or correction from the Journal even if the information eventually proves to be correct.

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