The author is a friend of scruggs: No? How does that play out in the book?
Dick Scruggs is my friend.
So are many other characters with roles on all sides of the political, civil and criminal conflicts in this book.
Wilke is a highly regarded professional journalist whose fidelity to the ethical standard of unbiased reporting, in my opinion, is only questioned by those who want him to tell the story the way they see it. Russell’s questions are a different matter. He simply wants to know such things as Wilke counts both Dick Scruggs and John Hailman among those he lists as his friends:
John Hailman, who triggered the investigation against Scruggs, shared an office suit with me…after he retired from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Russell also asked how Wilke’s friendship with Scruggs played out in the book – and that I answer by pointing out the evidence of balance, not bias, in a 30-page, chapter-by-chapter of listing of Wilke’s sources. He interviewed Dick Scruggs but he also interviewed a host of others with a different perspective including Charles Merkel, Grady Tollison, Joey Langston, John Hailman, U.S.Attorney Jim Greenlee. Wilke even interviewed Tom Dawson, the federal prosecutor who later co-authored “the other book”, Kings of Tort.
In the end, the book played out just like the story – and, at last, some of Oxford’s dirty little secrets are out.