The civil rights activists and advocates for them appear to be disappearing. The latest in the saga of those who have succumbed to the “changing of the guard” is Bobby DeLaughter. DeLaughter, the attorney responsible for bringing civil rights activist Medgar Evers’ murderer to justice, was given 18 months for obstruction of justice with the FBI. He was portrayed by Alec Baldwin in Ghosts of Mississippi about the death of Medgar Evers and the trial that followed. According to CNN, he was entangled in a corruption scandal that has hit Mississippi’s judicial system hard. The mentor of the former lawyer turned Judge, Ed Peters, gave DeLaughter up for, as James Brown would put it, “chicken change.”
Even with Peters admission of accepting a million dollar bribe from the brother-in-law of former republican Mississippi senator Trent Lott, he avoided jail time. Lott’s family member, Dickie Scruggs, is a high-powered attorney who made “tens of millions of dollars in tobacco and asbestos litigation” per CNN’s report. He’s serving seven years for trying to persuade Mississippi judges, including DeLaughter, into accepting bribes.
DeLaughter only pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying during the FBI’s corruption investigation into Mississippi’s judicial system. Some believe that making DeLaughter the fall guy for the scandal brings high-profile attention to the state to both relinquish the state of its past civil rights transgressions as well as its ties to any good ol’ boy network. Sounds like a good theory. The charges against DeLaughter are so broad it gives plenty of reason for more than one eyebrow to be raised.
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Times have changed so much that the spirit of the civil rights movement, the equal justice for all seems to have never existed.