Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Important Question from Mississippi

On Sunday night, the Greenwood (Mississippi) Commonwealth newspaper's editorial asked, "Why isn't Peters facing prison, too?"

Ed Peters is the corrupt DA from Mississippi who we affectionately call the "Pied Piper." Pied Piper Peters plays a tune so wonderfully that he worked out a sweet immunity deal with disgraced and embattled U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee of the Northern District of Mississippi. The immunity deal has been sealed tight and the U.S. Department of Justice won't provide details.

The Commonwealth correctly opines:
Why has Ed Peters, who was hired by [Richard] Scruggs and his friends to try to bribe [Judge Bobby] DeLaughter, gotten off so lightly? It was Peters who federal prosecutors say dangled the poisoned fruit -- a lifetime judicial appointment in exchange for a favorable ruling in a multimillion-dollar dispute over legal fees -- in front of DeLaughter. It was Peters who was the go-between, ferrying messages and documents between the judge and the Scruggs team. Yet, the former Hinds County district attorney has been able to skirt prosecution by turning on his onetime protegĂ©. Peters’ only penalty, other than losing his law license, was giving back what was left of the $1 million the Scruggs team had paid him.

“I find it rather odd that the man who got $1 million is out fishing, and Bobby DeLaughter is going to prison,” [DeLaughter's lawyer] said. “At least in Chicago we chase the money.”

So have federal prosecutors in Mississippi, except when it comes to Peters. So far, six plaintiffs’ attorneys, three state judges and a former state auditor have drawn prison time in three judicial bribery cases -- some of them for misdeeds that were a lot less culpable than Peters’.

Why did he get such a sweet deal? That’s a question the feds have yet to answer.