Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 9/23/2009 10:38:00 AM

DeLaughter Bribery/Influence Evidence May Impact Eaton Aerospace Trade Secrets Misappropriation Case

By Todd

We've reported about the crazy ups-and-downs of this Eaton Aerospace employee defection case before:

Forbes is now reporting that U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson in north Mississippi ruled Monday the secret grand jury testimony and other materials can be handed over to U.S. District Judge William H. Barbour, in the southern district of Mississippi, and Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger. The latter judge, Judge Yerger, is the civil trial judge assigned to the Eaton Aerospace misappropriation of trade secrets case that involves numerous former Eaton Aerospace employees and their new employer.

You'll recall that the former employees and their new employer are suggesting that Eaton's retention of Ed Peters, a Mississippi attorney who formerly worked with Judge DeLaughter and was one of his close friends, was made to improperly influence Judge DeLaughter's rulings. Eaton, of course, vigorously denies their retention of Mr. Peters was for any improper purpose.

"It's what Ed Peters has said," Frisby attorney Ed Blackmon said Tuesday. "The statements by Ed Peters were taken as credible by the government because they intended to use those in the DeLaughter trial."

Eaton spokesman Don McGrath said Tuesday the company welcomes the ruling about Peters' grand jury testimony to clarify the relationship of Peters and DeLaughter.

"We in no way hired him to influence Judge Delaughter or any other judge on Eaton's behalf," McGrath said. "We feel that our case is very strong, and I think the government's case is very strong."

We'll keep a continuing eye and ear on this one.


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