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Trent Lott's Brother-In-Law, Nephew, Indicted On Federal Bribery Charges

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 08:50 PM
Original message
Trent Lott's Brother-In-Law, Nephew, Indicted On Federal Bribery Charges
Trent Lott's Brother-In-Law, Nephew, Indicted On Federal Bribery Charges
Max Follmer
November 28, 2007 07:10 PM


Prominent Mississippi trial attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the brother-in-law of outgoing GOP Sen. Trent Lott, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on charges that he and four other men tried to bribe a Mississippi state court judge.

According to the 13-page indictment, Scruggs and three other attorneys -- including Lott's nephew Zach -- attempted to bribe Mississippi Third Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey with at least $40,000 in cash.

Lackey was assigned to hear a lawsuit in which Scruggs' firm was named as a defendant in a dispute involving $26.5 million in attorneys' fees stemming from a court settlement with State Farm Insurance over Hurricane Katrina claims.

The indictment alleges that the bribe was intended to resolve the case in Scruggs' and his firm's favor. Also charged was Sidney A. Backstrom, an attorney at Scruggs' firm; Timothy R. Balducci, a New Albany, Miss., laywer; and former State Auditor Steven A. Patterson, an employee of Balducci's law firm.

Neither Scruggs nor an attorney for the firm, Joey Langston, returned telephone messages seeking comment. Langston does not work at The Scruggs Law Firm.

more...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/11/28/trent-lotts-br...
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. Dickie. Buzzy. Cookie. Brownie. Scooter.
Isn't it great to have grown-ups in charge?
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. At Least He Was Gentleman Enough to Step Down
A shame that can't be said for the junta.
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vanboggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. Wasn't Lott suing his insurance co?
Any connection between this and his sudden resignation? Oh who knows - there can be so many, many reasons.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yep. I remember hearing him say he was suing, I think it was State Farm.
Sure would be interesting if HIS suit was connected to this huh?
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deminks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. Now picked up by the NYT. K&R
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/29/business/29bribes.htm...

Lawyer Battling for Katrina Payments Is Indicted

Richard F. Scruggs, a prominent trial lawyer who has been fighting insurance companies over payments for damage from Hurricane Katrina, was indicted yesterday by federal authorities on charges of offering a bribe of $50,000 to a Mississippi state judge in a dispute over fees with another lawyer.

The indictment, filed in federal court in Oxford, Miss., Mr. Scruggss hometown, said that on behalf of Mr. Scruggs, a colleague met several times this year with State Judge Henry L. Lackey in his chambers in Calhoun County to propose and deliver the bribe in installments.

Mr. Scruggss son Zachary, who is a partner in the Scruggs Law Firm in Oxford, and Sidney A. Backstrom, another partner, were also indicted, as were Mr. Scruggss colleague, Timothy R. Balducci, a partner in the firm of Patterson & Balducci, and Steven A. Patterson, a staff member in the firm. Mr. Scruggs, his son and the others were all accused of conspiracy.

The indictment, signed by Jim M. Greenlee, a United States attorney, said Judge Lackey reported an attempt to bribe him to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and cooperated with investigators as payments were made.


(end snip)

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Now it's federal bribery charges for Trent Lott's brother-in-law and nephew.
Trent Lott's Brother-In-Law, Nephew, Indicted On Federal Bribery Charges, November 28, 2007



More from the Times

.....

The indictment quoted from a conversation apparently tape-recorded in Judge Lackeys chambers and from a phone conversation in which Mr. Balducci told a member of his firm, All is done, all is handled and all went well.

According to the indictment, Mr. Balducci had the phone conversation on Sept. 27 after handing over $20,000 in cash to Judge Lackey in his chambers. Immediately after meeting with the judge, the indictment said, Mr. Balducci went to the Scruggs Law Firm. The indictment also cited a phone conversation on Sept. 21 in which it said Mr. Balducci discussed the bribery transaction with Mr. Backstrom.

Mr. Scruggs did not respond to phone and e-mail messages last night. His son Zachary declined to comment but referred a reporter to Joey Langston, who he said was a lawyer representing him and the others. Mr. Langston did not respond to a voice mail message left on his cellphone. He was quoted by The Associated Press as saying Im convinced that these guys did not do what they are accused of doing.

Mr. Scruggs, who has negotiated settlements worth more than $100 million this year with State Farm and other insurers, is a brother-in-law of Senator Trent Lott and a close friend of Mike Moore, former Mississippi attorney. He first gained national attention in the late 1990s for helping win a settlement of $248 billion from the tobacco industry.

Mr. Scruggs recruited other Mississippi lawyers to help him resolve hundreds of lawsuits brought by people whose homes had been destroyed or badly damaged in the hurricane. In the biggest settlement, with State Farm, Mr. Scruggs said he expected to receive up to $46 million in fees.
One lawyer, John Griffin Jones, was unhappy with the share allocated to him by Mr. Scruggs. In March, Mr. Jones sued Mr. Scruggs and others over the division of $26.5 million of the fees. According to the indictment, Mr. Scruggs tried to bribe Judge Lackey in exchange for a favorable ruling in the case.

.....



As a caller just said to Mike Malloy.... 'We are living in a sewer.'

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. Malloy is on fire right now. Gives another whole reason Lott fled. n/t
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. which is....?
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Sorry, I didn't state that well. Just that this is a major embarrassment for the pious Mr. Lott.
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Oh, I thought there was something else. my mistake.
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blitzen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
9. before you folks get too excited, know this: Dickie Scruggs is a big-time Dem fundraiser
and as much as I detest Lott, my initial impression is that this has nothing to do with him
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blitzen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Hillary will probably have to cancel her Dec. 15 fundraiser at the home of Dickie Scruggs
http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=...

Presidential candidates' courtship with Mississippians continues over the next month as Republican Fred Thompson and former President Clinton, husband of the Democratic frontrunner, visit the state.

Thompson, a former actor and U.S. Senator from Tennessee, is scheduled to speak at an event Monday in Jackson honoring Republican Party Chairman Jim Herring. Clinton will attend a fundraiser on behalf of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, at the home of Oxford lawyer Dickie Scruggs on Dec. 15.

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TacticalPeek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:56 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. From the full-page Sunday ad Dick Scruggs ran a month after Katrina:



:patriot:

Thanks, Dick.


(pic from near Biloxi)

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deminks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 06:36 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. I wondered about this last night. Scruggs seems to be
one who defends against some big players - big tobacco, asbestos, insurers in Katrina, and has made a pile of money. I am beginning to wonder if this is just pushback from the insurers that got burned. Also his next target seems to be HMO's.

Interesting read here:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2007/07/us-a...

July 30, 2007
U.S. Attorney Declines To Prosecute Dickie Scruggs For Contempt; Judge Names Special Prosecutors

As reported on law.com (via AP), last week, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham, AL, refused to prosecute plaintiffs' lawyer Dickie Scruggs and the Scruggs Law Firm for criminal contempt in a Hurricane Katrina insurance dispute. Scruggs (brother-in-law of Senator Trent Lott (R-MI)) is suing State Farm on behalf of Mississippi residents. (More on the underlying case here). Back in June, U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. recommended the criminal prosecution based on Scruggs's violation of a court order that "required him to deliver "all documents" about State Farm Insurance Co. that whistleblowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby secretly copied after Katrina." (Copies of the judge's original memorandum and order are available here via WSJ Law Blog). In a letter to Judge Acker, the U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute Scruggs.

In the latest twist, WSJ Law Blog reports that last Thursday Judge Acker appointed two Birmingham lawyers as special prosecutors to pursue the criminal contempt charge against Scruggs. Stay tuned!
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. Dickie Boy is NOT a big-time Dem fundraiser.
Scruggs tends to support the Republicans, not the Democrats. In 2000, for instance, he gave $250,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign and to the G.O.P. (Federal Election Commission Report, Sept. 15, 2000 -- in addition to this donation, Scruggs has made several others, and his wife has given over $500,000 to various Republican causes) and only $20,000 to Democratic candidates. And more significantly, Scruggs was the brother-in-law of Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, who at the time was the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate.

http://harpers.org/archive/2007/10/hbc-90001343

(Under subtitle, The Teflon Litigator; includes resources)
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blitzen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. perhaps not, but he's hosting Hillary's Dec. 15 fundraiser at his house....
although I kinda doubt that will happen now
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Point taken.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
15. Scruggs targeted by Karl Rove and Gonzo DOJ?
There may be a lot more to this than stated in the OP.

POLITICAL TARGETS?

Minor is serving an 11-year sentence for his involvement in loans and contributions to two judges in cases he argued, for the most part a bipartisan sin widely practiced in a state that elects its judges. Minor's greater sin may have been that he was a big contributor to the Democratic Party and one of the trial lawyers who helped bring about a multi-billion-dollar settlement with Big Tobacco in 1997.

Minor's conviction came despite the fact that juries in earlier related cases were unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding Minor and dismissed claims against state Supreme Court Judge Oliver Diaz.

Mississippi's best-known trial lawyer, Richard Scruggs, the lead attorney in the 1997 tobacco settlement, is now facing troubles of his own, criminal contempt charges for his handling of documents in a Hurricane Katrina-related case against the State Farm insurance company.

In Alabama, former Democratic Gov. Siegelman is serving an 88-month prison sentence for his conviction in a corruption case that GOP activist Dana Jill Simpson says was the handiwork of President Bush's former top adviser Karl Rove. Simpson, whose claims are now under investigation by the House Judiciary subcommittees, said top GOP insiders told her Rove and the U.S. Justice Department had targeted Siegelman, who narrowly lost to Republican Bob Riley in a 2002 election that some claim was stolen.

Are such cases the bitter fruit of a U.S. Justice Department so politicized that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned in September under a cloud of suspicion that he hired and fired U.S. attorneys based on their political allegiance? Many believe Gonzales was simply a figurehead under the Justice Department's real ruler, Rove, an erstwhile top-dollar consultant for tobacco giant Philip Morris.
http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=...
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Very interesting
What an outrage if attorneys were being targeted for prosecution on trumped up charges because they contribute to Dems.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Yeah, but it makes sense to how warped repugs play the game.
Take out possible opponents with the legal system.
Then use the same system to take out big donors.
If you can't get enough votes in fair and open elections, then hamstring your opponents.
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
20. Massive Corruption Has Been Exposed in the US
Edited on Thu Nov-29-07 01:21 PM by fascisthunter
now just imagine what hasn't been exposed?
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