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Scruggs plea: Ominous, sobering...

Scruggs plea: Ominous, sobering realities

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 15, 2008

The Clarion-Ledger, 3/15/8

Dickie Scruggs, the Oxford attorney who grew up poor in Pascagoula, had it all – the opulent private jet, the shiny Bentley, the 120-ft. yacht, the vacation home in Key West, reputed legal fees earned of nearly $1 billion and a reputation as one of the most respected and most feared trials lawyers in the world.

But on Friday, Scruggs was reduced – apparently by his own inexplicable greed – to just another felon copping a plea bargain in front of a federal judge. Scruggs pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers of conspiring to bribe a state Circuit Court judge with $40,000 in cash in exchange for a favorable ruling in a case over disputed legal fees.

In that case, Scruggs had been sued by another law firm over the division of $26.5 million in attorneys fees related to Hurricane Katrina insurance claims.

Scruggs, his law firm associate Sid Backstrom, Booneville attorney Joey Langston, New Albany attorney Tim Balducci and former state auditor Steve Patterson have all pleaded guilty in connection with federal judicial bribery charges in two separate investigations.

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