GWC – Scruggs’ ties to Blake detailed in Kings of Tort

The roots of attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs’ legal network spread out from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to the influential recesses of Washington.

Tendrils extended into Greenwood in the person of Scruggs’ personal “switchboard,” P.L. Blake, according to a recently released book documenting the billionaire attorney’s downfall.

“(Blake) was the person that you went to if you wanted to talk to Scruggs but couldn’t get Scruggs or Scruggs wouldn’t talk to you,” said Alan Lange, who co-wrote “Kings of Tort” with Tom Dawson.

Scruggs, a former Oxford attorney, is currently serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison for a scheme to bribe a judge. Five of his associates have been sentenced on various charges.

The biggest remaining unresolved question, according to the book, is what will happen to Blake, who spent most of his working life in Greenwood as a big-time farmer with deep political connections.

Blake has not been indicted, although court records indicate he played a role in the attempted bribery of State Judge Henry Lackey.

According to a transcript from the plea hearing for former State Auditor Steve Patterson, Blake met with Scruggs regarding a request for $40,000 to bribe Lackey and indicated Scruggs was OK with the amount.

“We got your horse sold,” Blake told Patterson.

Greenwood Commonwealth
1/23/10