As part of the plea deal, federal prosecutors agreed to defer prosecution of Scruggs’ son, Zach Scruggs, who agreed to give up his license to practice law.
Dickie Scruggs and Backstrom each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to bribe an elected official, which carries a penalty of five years in prison. But prosecutors are recommending a 2 1/2-year sentence for Backstrom. They each would have to pay $250,000 in fines plus court costs, under the recommendation. If the two had been convicted of all counts in the federal indictment, they each would have faced a maximum of 75 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
The plea deal marks the apparent nadir of the sudden and dramatic fall of one of the nation’s most successful class action attorneys.
Scruggs was reached by phone but would not comment.