The Sun Herald, 2/27/8

To protect a potential insurance settlement worth $26 million in legal fees, attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs agreed to pay $500,000 to colleagues who interceded on his behalf with Attorney General Jim Hood, a government informant says.

Attorney Timothy R. Balducci said that he and his associate, former State Auditor Steve Patterson, talked to Hood at Scruggs’ request. Scruggs was trying to protect a pending settlement of policyholders’ Katrina claims with State Farm insurance companies, Balducci said in a Nov. 2 interview with FBI agents.

State Farm would not agree to the settlement, Balducci said, if Hood’s criminal investigation of the company led to indictments.