Judge tears into attorney general

Given that Scruggs made be headed to prison for his role in a bribery conspiracy, there’s not much that the Alabama judge can add to the opprobrium already being heaped on the disgraced Mississippi trial lawyer’s head.

Acker’s derogatory comments about state Attorney General Jim Hood, though, are bound to raise some eyebrows. They certainly got a rise out of Hood, who said after their release last week that he would petition the court to excise some of the language.

The judge did not recommend any action against Hood, but he did cast aspersions on the attorney general’s conduct in the dispute. Acker said that when Hood agreed, at Scruggs’ request, to accept the stolen documents, the attorney general was not acting in his role as a law enforcement official. Rather, the judge said, Hood was behaving as a “co-conspirator with, and an aider and abetter of, Scruggs,” who defied the judge’s order to give the documents back to the adjusting firm from which they were stolen.

Acker’s scathing conclusion adds credence to those who believe Hood misused his office because of his financial ties to Scruggs, one of his largest political benefactors.

That connection was helpful to Hood during his two successful runs for the statewide office. It apparently wasn’t too bad for Scruggs either, helping him retain a friendly body in the attorney general’s office following the retirement of Mike Moore. As Moore had helped make Scruggs a multimillionaire by steering the state’s asbestos and tobacco litigation his way, Scruggs was counting on Hood’s cooperation in the trial lawyer’s Katrina-related litigation crusade against the insurance industry.

According to Acker, Scruggs got it.

— Tim Kalich, publisher of the Greenwood Commonweatlh

6/11/8