Skip to comments.Scruggs, son, others charged with conspiring to bribe judge.( Trent Lott's Brother in Law )
Posted on 11/28/2007 7:23:30 PM PST by Leisler
A grand jury in North Mississippi has indicted Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, his son, Zach Scruggs, Scruggs Law Firm attorney Sidney A. Backstrom, attorney Timothy Balducci and former State Auditor Steve Patterson for conspiring to bribe a state court judge in North Mississippi over a case that involved funds from a settlement with State Farm insurance companies. The indictment, filed late Thursday, said Scruggs attempted to influence Lackey in the case by offering him $40,000 for an order that would resolve the lawsuit Jones vs. Scruggs in favor of Dickie Scruggs and the Scruggs Law Firm.
Dickie Scruggs also is accused of attempting to conceal his and the other attorneys' involvement in the alleged bribery attempt.
The Scruggeses were not in their law office Thursday afternoon and the law firm's attorney, Joey Langston, did not return telephone calls to comment.
Scruggs, whose brother-in-law is Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., earned millions from asbestos litigation and from his role in brokering a multibillion dollar settlement with tobacco companies in the mid-1990s. After Katrina hit on Aug. 29, 2005, the Gulf Coast native sued insurers on behalf of hundreds of policyholders whose claims were denied after the storm.
Dickie must be one dumb lawyer. Should have added a charge of felonious stupidity.
He should have sat on the hundreds of millions he probably made earlier from the tobacco and asbestos settlements.
He’s not dumb.
Dickie Scrugg’s WIKI
Richard “Dickie” Scruggs was hired by Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore to assist with a lawsuit against thirteen tobacco companies in the 1990s. Prior to that he was known for his class action lawsuits against the asbestos industry. Settlement of the state’s case against the tobacco companies was for 368 billion dollars (USD). His performance in this case was portrayed in the movie The Insider by Colm Feore. Scruggs also would lead and become a spokesman for the plaintiffs in the Ritalin class action lawsuits. He asserted that the Ritalin defendants, “manufactured a disease”...and “it has been grossly over-prescribed. It is a huge risk.” All five class actions in five separate states were dismissed before trial.
Scruggs attended law school at the University of Mississippi with Mike Moore. He practiced law in Jackson, Mississippi and New York before opening his own private practice in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Scruggs and his wife Diane are ardent supporters of the University of Mississippi, having made large donations to several organizations on campus. Scruggs Hall was named in their honor. It currently houses the Music department.
Scruggs’ brother-in-law is Senator Trent Lott, former Majority Leader of the US Senate. Scruggs is currently representing Lott through the Scruggs Katrina Group in a lawsuit against insurance company State Farm because of damage stemming from Hurricane Katrina.
Robert Hood tapped Scruggs to file suit against on behalf of Mississippi against numerous insurance companies to recover damages in wake of Katrina. On June 15, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge William Acker, in an opinion recommending that Scruggs be prosecuted for criminal contempt, suggested high pressure tactics were unfairly used to pressure the insurance companies into settlement, and that documents were improperly sent to Hood’s office “for the calculated purpose of ensuring noncompliance with or avoidance.”
On Wednesday, November 28, Scruggs was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he and a group of four others attempted to bribe Mississippi Third Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey with around $40,000. This payment was allegedly in exchange for a favorable ruling in a case involving $26.5 million in disputed legal fees related to his Scruggs Katrina Group litigation team.
There’s always a lawyer with a bigger yacht or younger third wife.
Trent Lott just resigned from the Senate. Makes a man wonder . . .
There are no coincidences...
I think I see the problem. Things are done a little differently north of I-10.
Regardless of his biography, a lawyer who attempts to bribe a judge is dumb.
I’m thinkin’ Dickie went up against the wrong bunch this time. Don’t mess with insurance companies. I’m sure Trent Lott knew what would come of messin’ with State Farm, but he did what he thought was right. It must have been decided by some powers that be that it would be disastrous if insurance companies had to pay for damage that occurred during Hurricane Katrina. It was no big deal to take out big tobacco companies and their coffers. It was no big deal to take out asbestos companies. But don’t mess with insurance.
Not that I’m a fan of Dickie Scruggs. Quite frankly, there are quite a few law firms in MS that give me the heebie-jeebies, no thanks to John Grisham novels.
Few people want to pay for a quality house, or quality insurance. You can get anything insured, under any circumstance. You just can’t get it at any old price. I would imagine a glorified stick frame house, below flood level and on open water would be very expensive.
Which might be why the judge turned him in. But I have to disagree on the ‘lots of bribing in law’. 30 years ago I worked in the law. I’m currently a paralegal student. From my experience, lawyers, for the most part, avoid ehtics violations like the plague.
True, but attempted bribe of a judge is coloring waaaaaaay outside the lines.
It is a bit gauche. Perhaps whispering of a Federal Judgeship would of been more in order. What with a state and Federal pension and all. Nothing on paper mind you, and all because of the agust judge coming to the lucky attentions of others.
A corrupt trial lawyer? Who would have thought!
Cross-linking with an earlier thread...
If he were in a position to make such an offer. Be interesting to hear more details. I do note that the judge has not been indicted.
"The indictment accuses Richard "Dickie" Scruggs of conspiring to pay the judge $40,000 to rule in his favor in a lawsuit brought by other attorneys who sought fees for work on Katrina insurance litigation.
Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey reported the "bribery overture" to federal authorities and agreed to assist investigators in an "undercover capacity," according to the indictment."
Apparently the judge blew the whistle.
I wonder if this figured into Lott’s resignation?
Arden supporters of Ole Miss. Well, that says it all.
No the problem is that North Mississippi is just south of Memphis. The crime all runs together.
I’ve been wondering that, too.
I guess we’ll find out soon.
Was Scruggs the basis for a Grisham character in the Rainmaker,the Runaway Jury or The Firm? He seems to fit them all.
I’ve been inside a law firm in Jackson that fit the description of The Firm rather closely. But I have a suspicion there are a lot of firms like The Firm.
I’m not sure — a lot of us here in Mississippi always thought the Tort King was an amalgamation of Paul Minor, Scruggs, and several other notorious trial lawyers in south Mississippi.
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