Friday, June 27, 2008

"The Insider" lawyer sentenced to five years for trying to bribe a judge

The thing that bothers me about this case is that I suspect it's the tip of an iceberg. Something must have made these people think that judges could be bribed. The sentencing judge noted that Scruggs picked the wrong judge to try to bribe. But how many times had he picked a judge who willingly accepted a bribe?

Attorney Gets 5 Years in Bribery Case

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who became one of the wealthiest civil lawsuit attorneys in the country by taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge.

U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. called Scruggs' conduct "reprehensible" and fined him $250,000, plus the cost of his incarceration...

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, an attorney who gained wealth and fame through a series of high-profile and successful cases against corporate America, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison...

The judge said that after reviewing evidence in the case, including secretly recorded conversations, "it made me think perhaps this was not the first time you did this because you did it so easily. And there is evidence before the court that you have done it before."

Scruggs gained fame in the 1990s by using a corporate insider against tobacco companies in lawsuits that resulted in a $206 billion settlement. That case was portrayed in the 1999 film "The Insider."

...Scruggs initially denied wrongdoing. But in March, Scruggs and former law partner Sidney Backstrom pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey with $50,000...

Scruggs' son, Zach Scruggs, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony, meaning he knew a crime was committed but didn't report it. He is to be sentenced next week...

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