Larger-than-life trial lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs is charged with small-time bribery, but the consequences could reach beyond the courthouse square in a northeast Mississippi town.
Scruggs, who built a multibillion-dollar litigation empire by taking on the tobacco industry and winning, is a bankroller of Democratic political contenders, a friend of the powerful, a relative by marriage to retiring Republican Sen. Trent Lott and a bit of a silver-screen celebrity.
Scruggs’ tobacco case spawned The Insider, a 1999 movie starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, in which Scruggs’ Pascagoula, Miss., mansion appears. He was lead counsel for the Katrina Group class-action lawsuits by victims of Hurricane Katrina against State Farm Insurance company. And he was planning a fundraiser for presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton when he was indicted last month.