Friday, February 6, 2009

With Enemies Like This, Who Needs Friends?

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that nobody has written letters to U.S. District Judge Biggers requesting leniency for Tim Balducci, the wire-wearing witness in the USA v. Scruggs et al., case. The DJ story is here:

The DJ tells us this:

Not one person's letter was in the U.S. District Court file asking leniency for former New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci.

* * * *

Balducci and former state Auditor Steven Patterson face a Feb. 13 sentencing before Senior Judge Neal Biggers Jr. for their roles in a conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City.

It's unclear whether Biggers will show any leniency to Balducci for his key cooperation or to Patterson, deemed a bit player by the government when he pleaded guilty in January 2008.

Today, their pre-sentence letter files were opened to four media organizations, who asked to see them. Balducci's contained only two letters, apparently copies from other letters written generally about the others.

But despite Balducci's empty "pre-sentence letter file," he should expect strong recommendations of leniency from the United States Attorney. The wiretapping and video cameras in Judge Lackey's chambers never captured any statements by Richard Scruggs. Without Balducci's cooperation, the Government only had a case against . . . Balducci.

If I had to choose between: (1) a file containing five hundred letters from bishops, coupled with the enmity of the US Attorney, and (2) an empty letter file and a positive recommendation from the US Attorney, I wouldn't think long. Give me #2, anytime . . .

NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, recall that my partner Frank Trapp headed the legal defense team for Sid Backstrom, on which I was happy to contribute.

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