Breaking: Dickie Scruggs Pleads Guilty

Story updated:

Sid Salter’s Blog

Wall Street Journal story (Subscription  required) 


Mr. Scruggs, 61 yers old, and co-defendant Sidney Backstrom both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Mr. Scruggs’s law partner and son, Zach, also is charged in the case but didn’t enter a plea and is expected to go to trial.

Prosecutors said they would recommend five years in prison for Mr. Scruggs and 2 1/2 for Mr. Backstrom, penalties significantly lower than what they could have faced.

One of the best-known trial lawyers in the country, Mr. Scruggs was indicted along with his son and three associates in November.

They were accused of conspiring to pay a Lafayette County Circuit Court judge for a favorable ruling in a dispute over $26.5 million in legal fees from a mass settlement of Hurricane Katrina cases

Judge Henry L. Lackey reported a bribe overture to the FBI and worked undercover. Two of the men who were indicted, attorney Timothy Balducci and former Mississippi State Auditor Steve Patterson, pleaded guilty and began working with the prosecution.

Mr. Scruggs gained wide fame in the late 1990s for taking on the tobacco industry in lawsuits brought on behalf of individual states. Ultimately, a Scruggs team wrested $206 billion from cigarette makers in 1998 on behalf of 46 states.

Mr. Scruggs is a brother-in-law of Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

Folo is down, Yall Politics is sluggish from the traffic but up otherwise.


4 thoughts on “Breaking: Dickie Scruggs Pleads Guilty”

  1. That is going to be a long 51 months.

    It also opens up a can of worms visa vi civil litigation by various parties against him.

    State Farm probably wanted this to drag on a little bit longer. Based on his plea, Scruggs didn’t sound like someone who had a lot of additional information. If what he said is true, the Feds already had the main operators, with Scruggs just along for the ride.

    Of course at this point, one would suspect Scruggs of some very fine parsing of words.

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