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“There were no outsiders . . ....

“There were no outsiders . . . ever” – the Zach Scruggs defense team

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 20, 2008

Everyone remembers Tom Hagen from the Godfather. He is the lawyer for “the family” that knew it all. Whether it was helping to get someone out of jail, influencing Frankie “Five Angels” Pentangeli, or helping Michael Corleone testify to Congress, Tom was always there. Why? Becuase he had the context. He knew everything.

Enter Mike Moore for the defense. Let’s look at the ties that bind.

Mike Moore was the former Attorney General and co-architect with Dickie Scruggs of the tobacco settlement.

He was instrumental in helping direct/craft the fee structure that Dickie Scruggs, his childhood chum, a multigazillionaire.

With Scruggs help, he set up the Padhuship, Moore’s political slush fund. In addition to going with Moore to court, Scruggs personally donated $7K to Judge Jaye Bradley, who made the court order to establish the funding mechanism.

Moore leaves the AGs office and goes into private practice. He immediately helps MCI (who is adverse to his former client – Mississippi) be a “resolution counsel” in a tax case opposite Joey Langston. Langston, incidentally, was a huge Mike Moore campaign contributor and had obvious business ties to Dickie Scruggs.

About this time, Moore is also helping Scruggs force hospitals into settlements as “resolution counsel” as he did with North MS Medical Center.

Then comes Katrina. Moore never appeared on the letterhead of SKG, but he was involved. According to the Lee Harrell deposition, Moore was concurrently providing counsel to AG Jim Hood on his grand jury strategy (which we now know Scruggs did not want) while representing clients adverse to State Farm. As a poetic sidenote, the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Lee Harrell depo was none other than Zach Scruggs. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

One final interesting note on Moore. When the feds raided the Scruggs Law Firm office, documents were subject to a federal “taint team”. There is a move afoot to make documents available to ND of Miss prosecutors. If indeed that’s the case, then someone who knows all the secrets better be sitting at that table for Zach.

Then comes the super lawyers out of Missouri for Zach – Chip Robertson and Mary Winter. It is certainly played in the press like they are these outside apellate heavy hitters brought in specifically for this trial. Guess what? They represented the Rigsby’s in the Dickie inspired qui tam action. They were also in the now infamous trailer meeting where Kerri Rigsby brought her laptop and accessed State Farm info (see p17). Dickie Scruggs, Chip Robertson and Mary Winter were all there.

Zach Scruggs has enough money to hire Mark Garagos or any number of the absolute best criminal defense lawyers money can buy. Instead, they have chosen people “intimately involved in the family business”.

Will it work? Will the government “make him an offer he can’t refuse”? We’ll soon know.

In the meantime . . . Omerta.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.