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Old 03-21-2008, 04:27 PM
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Last week trial lawyer Richard F. Scruggs, chief architect of the $206 billion nationwide tobacco settlement in the 1990s, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to bribe a judge in another case.

Scruggs and Sidney A. Backstrom, a lawyer in his firm, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud for offering a $50,000 cash bribe to a Mississippi judge in exchange for a favorable ruling in a dispute over legal fees from a Hurricane Katrina insurance lawsuit.

In return for Scruggs's guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., federal prosecutors will recommend that several other charges against him be dropped. No sentencing date was set. Prosecutors are asking that Scruggs be sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison. He will also lose his license to practice law.


Scruggs, brother in law of former Senator Trent Lott, is also under investigation of undue influence over a Mississippi judge.

Today, Zach Scruggs pled guilty to "misprison of a felony", bringing to an end the prosecution of one of the most famous plaintiff's law firm in recent history. The plea was to a federal felony charge that he was aware of but did not report that his father and associates were inappropriately trying to influence a Mississippi judge. The plea deal is likely to include probation instead of jail time.

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Old 03-21-2008, 04:30 PM
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Mississippi? One of your friends, JD? Just kidding, although I'm sure you must know who he is. I guess bribing the judge really helps to guarrantee a positive outcome for one's clients . . .
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:50 PM
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FMR. It's guys like him that give lawyers a bad name....
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:52 PM
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Here's another...from the WSJ

What is it with these guys????

In an earlier day, Melvyn Weiss would have called it a "scandal" that revealed something deeply corrupt about an entire industry. But yesterday the 72-year-old godfather of the "strike suit" bar was himself the latest tort lawyer to cop a felony plea that could land him 33 months in prison and $10 million in penalties.

Weiss's law firm, Milberg Weiss, promptly renamed itself plain old Milberg and issued a statement expressing shock and dismay that Weiss's original claims of innocence weren't credible after all. The firm itself is still under indictment, while Weiss joins Steven Schulman, David Bershad and Bill Lerach in the pantheon of former Milberg partners who have admitted wrongdoing in the kickback case. At this rate, they may need their own prison wing.


Weiss himself expressed "regret" for his actions and apologized to "all those who have been affected," although he seemed to have in mind mostly his former colleagues at the firm. There are of course others "affected" by the firm's scheme to gin up shareholder class-action suits via kickbacks to professional plaintiffs -- the companies that Weiss sued, often for nothing more than a declining share price. Perhaps some shareholder should sue Weiss and his firm on behalf of all the losers from their fraudulent class-action wealth-redistribution scheme.

Meanwhile, the silence from the usual corporate scolds is telling. In the wake of the felony admissions of Weiss and Lerach and last week's bribery plea by Dickie Scruggs, where are the cries in Congress to crack down on these wealthy wrongdoers who abused their positions of legal trust? Weiss's corner of the tort bar has enriched itself for decades on the backs of shareholders who took home a pittance while the lawyers became megamillionaires.

This might be the biggest pay disparity in the country -- that between class members and the lawyers who purportedly represent them. But you won't hear that from Democrats who bray about executive pay and the "little guy." The tort lawyers have seen to that by sharing a percentage of their riches, almost like a service fee, with the politicians who prevent any meaningful legal reform.


"I sincerely regret....the fact that I was caught!"
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:01 PM
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I think if I'd been at the helm for that tobacco settlement, I would be now sipping fruity beverages on my yacht somewhere inthe Carribean, not bribing judges and whatnot.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee8go View Post
I guess bribing the judge really helps to guarrantee a positive outcome for one's clients . . .
The kicker . . . Scrugg's law firm was "the client." The suit was between a group of plaintiff's attorneys that thought they were getting screwed . . . err . . . being unfairly compensated . . . for the work they had done in Katrina litigation against State Farm with Scruggs.
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Old 03-23-2008, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTI View Post
The kicker . . . Scrugg's law firm was "the client." The suit was between a group of plaintiff's attorneys that thought they were getting screwed . . . err . . . being unfairly compensated . . . for the work they had done in Katrina litigation against State Farm with Scruggs.
So....basically you're saying, "A snake bit a snake."

Eh?



This proves there's no honor among thieves.

(Sorry, all you honest lawyers...all ... er... never mind... )
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:23 AM
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Bribing a judge only works well if they are crooked. If they are straight or even if they are crooked and don't want to play with you you are in big trouble.

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