Probe’s reach grows wider

Federal prosecutors pointed Tuesday toward political operative P.L. Blake as a behind-the-scenes figure in Mississippi’s unfolding judicial bribery scandal.

Blake – who has not been indicted in the case – has emerged in court documents as the man who bizarrely earned $50 million from the state’s tobacco settlement by clipping newspapers and assessing political activity for the lawyer who championed that settlement, Dickie Scruggs.

The revelations came during Tuesday’s hearing in Oxford for former State Auditor Steve Patterson, who pleaded guilty to scheming with Scruggs to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey to rule in Scruggs’ favor in a lawsuit against the wealthy trial lawyer.

Jerry Mitchell
Clarion Ledger