Anonymous jury not for Backstrom

Indicted trial lawyer Sidney Backstrom has told a federal judge that he has no interest in being put on trial alongside high-profile attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs as the two battle judicial bribery charges.

Backstrom filed a motion to sever his trial on Wednesday, his second such attempt. The first was denied by U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers.

Scruggs, son Zach and Backstrom are all alleged to have offered $40,000 to Lafayette County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey in exchange for a favorable ruling in a dispute over at least $26.5 million in attorneys fees earned in Hurricane Katrina settlements with State Farm Insurance Cos.

Backstrom says the Court’s granting of an anonymous jury should lead to the separation of his trial.

Biggers granted a request for an anonymous jury, which prevents information about the jurors from being obtained by the parties, their counsel and the media. Scruggs is asking the judge to reconsider, while Backstrom says it violates his rights.

Legal Newsline
3/13/8