The recently retired lead prosecutor in the case against Mississippi trial lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs has written an insider’s account of the sensational judicial bribery scandal that sent the billionaire tobacco litigator, his son and several associates to prison.
Veteran former prosecutor Tom Dawson teamed up with conservative Mississippi legal blogger Alan Lange to examine the Scruggs case and the conviction of another Mississippi trial lawyer named Paul Minor.
“Kings of Tort: The True Story of Dickie Scruggs, Paul Minor and Two Decades of Political and Legal Manipulation in Mississippi” will be published in December.
The book will attempt to “connect the dots,” exploring how Scruggs and other principals in the investigation ascended to fame before plunging into notoriety, Dawson said in an interview.
Contract employment is rare
Dawson said he bowed out of his contract with the U.S. Attorney’s office early “to work on the book in earnest,” and because he felt he had accomplished what he set out to do.
Dawson’s early termination of the contract came after Main Justice made inquiries to the Northern District of Mississippi U.S. Attorney’s office about it. On June 10, the Justice Department received a Freedom of Information Act request from Main Justice for a copy of Dawson’s employment contract.
The FOIA request, despite repeated inquiries, was not fulfilled until Oct. 30, after Main Justice contacted DOJ Public Affairs for comment on Dawson’s book deal.
Although salaries of government employees are a matter of public record, the contract released under FOIA blacked out the amount paid to Dawson, citing a privacy exemption.
The contract also puts limits on what Dawson can reveal. It says Dawson “realizes the sensitive nature of the prosecution/litigation and agrees and understands that any information concerning these matters or others in the office may only be discussed with or disclosed to members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi, the Department of Justice and/or the investigative agencies.”
The contract also says: “This applies to information whether obtained as a prior AUSA or during the course of this contract.”
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