Scruggs’s Son Sentenced in Bribery Case

The government had recommended probation for Zach Scruggs, 34, also a lawyer, who was sentenced by Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. at a hearing in Federal District Court in Oxford, Miss.

Richard Scruggs, 62, who spearheaded legal settlements with tobacco firms that provided $206 billion to 46 states, was sentenced on Friday to the maximum five years in prison for his role in the scheme. He pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to pay a $40,000 bribe to a state judge who handled a lawsuit on how to divide $26.5 million in legal fees from an $89 million settlement over insurance claims from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“You committed a reprehensible crime in my opinion, the most reprehensible crime a lawyer can commit, which is the corruption of a judge,” Judge Biggers said in sentencing Richard Scruggs.

Zach Scruggs pleaded guilty a week after his father. He was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine as part of his sentence. Judge Biggers could have sentenced him to as much as 21 months in prison under federal guidelines, according to Robert H. Norman, an assistant United States attorney.

Mr. Scruggs asked the judge to allow him to report to prison after October, when his wife is expected to give birth to their baby. Judge Biggers told the defendant to put his request in writing, according to Mr. Norman.

Michael Moore, Zach Scruggs’s lawyer, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.