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Megattorney Dickie Scruggs Pleads Guilty to Attempted Bribery of a Judge

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By See-Dubya  •  March 15, 2008 12:48 AM

“How could one of America’s greatest bluegrass banjo pickers stoop so low?”, I wondered, scanning the headlines in the Wall Street Journal. Then I realized that no, See-Dub, this isn’t about the bluegrass legend, but rather about one of America’s most prominent trial lawyers, Richard Scruggs, being just a little too eager to bring on that sweet redistributive justice–especially when it came to re-distributing the legal fees into his own pocket:

Mr. Scruggs revolutionized the practice of mass-tort litigation, assembling throngs of plaintiffs to take on deep-pocketed targets. In the largest score, a Scruggs team wrested $206 billion from cigarette makers in 1998 on behalf of 46 states, a settlement from which Mr. Scruggs took home hundreds of millions of dollars.

Last spring, according to government filings, Mr. Balducci, the former Scruggs associate, approached Judge Lackey and requested that he enter a ruling in the legal-fees case in Mr. Scruggs’s favor. In exchange, Mr. Balducci dangled the prospect of a job. Judge Lackey alerted government officials, who arranged a sting operation.

The guilty plea comes as something of a surprise. He’s likely going to have to surrender his law license and have to scratch out a penurious existence on the scant hundreds of millions he’s squirreled away through asbestos litigation.

You know, though we may have our differences around here with the WSJ on immigration issues, their coverage of Scruggs’ misstep has been thorough and their big-business schadenfreude is well placed. I’m not one of these guys who thinks all lawyers are evil, but Scruggs and his anti-business hyenas sure give the rest of the industry a bad name.

P.S. Trivia, which probably isn’t that trivial, and which Michelle has noted before: Dickie Scruggs is Trent Lott’s brother-in-law.

P.P.S: If I read this campaign contribution data correctly, John McCain has given back the $2300 donation he received from Scruggs. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee isn’t in such a rush with that $28,500.

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