Zach Scruggs’ penalty harsher than anticipated

Lawyers for the son of powerful trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs were caught unprepared Wednesday when a judge ordered imprisonment for their client.

They may appeal.

Biggers called the case a sad one since Zach Scruggs’ father was the primary actor. “It makes it even sadder that you, his son, was brought into it,” the judge said.

He told the younger Scruggs the evidence shows he was fully aware of the attempted corruption of Lackey.

“It was just clear that you not only knew what was going on, you were participating in what was going on,” Biggers said. “You helped write that order.”

Moore shook his head no.

“You shake your head, Mr. Moore,” Biggers replied, “but I heard the tapes. He … suggested what should be in that order, that corrupted order.”

Moore said he had listened to every tape and interviewed every witness: “Zach Scruggs never had any knowledge whatsoever that there was any conspiracy to bribe a judge in this case.”

In the hundreds of conversations taped by the FBI, “there’s no mention of Zach Scruggs in this case anywhere,” Moore said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Dawson responded that Zach Scruggs is mentioned on some of the tapes.

Biggers quoted Zach Scruggs as saying on one of those tapes: “We need to hurry up and get this order signed before some other (expletive deleted) gets the case.”

Biggers said that remark “contradicts your statement that you have a great love and respect for the legal profession.”

When Moore began to discuss how defense lawyers had sought a binding plea agreement but were unable to get it, Biggers responded sharply, “If I want you to say any more, Mr. Moore, I’ll ask for it.”

Moore continued: “Judge, I appreciate that. I thought a lawyer could always respond to the court respectfully.”

After the hearing, Moore said of Zach Scruggs, “His father is involved in something. What’s he going to do? Turn his father in?”

Clarion Ledger