Political conspiracy theorists are enjoying banner times in Mississippi.
First came Republican Trent Lott’s announcement early last week that he’s leaving the U.S. Senate by year’s end.
Two days after Lott’s announcement, the senator’s brother-in-law, multimillionaire trial lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs was indicted in north Mississippi — along with four others — on federal charges of trying to bribe a state court judge. Scruggs and three others pleaded not guilty; the fifth person did not immediately appear in court to answer the charges.
Scruggs’ legal woes could bruise one of his closest allies, Democrat Moore, who was Mississippi attorney general from January 1988 to January 2004. Although Moore is not accused of any wrongdoing, Scruggs has been one of his top campaign contributors over the years.
When Lott leaves, Gov. Haley Barbour will appoint someone to temporarily fill the Senate seat until a special election is held.
Pickering said in August that he won’t seek re-election to the House in 2008. After Lott’s announcement, conspiracy theorists — and not just the crazy ones — speculated that the senator was stepping aside to make way for Pickering.