WTOK, 11/15/7

Every eligible federal judge in north Alabama has stepped aside from presiding in the criminal contempt case of Mississippi trial lawyer Richard Scruggs. He is accused of disobeying an order by failing to turn over Katrina-related insurance documents to a court.

The 16 district judges and magistrate judges agreed to recuse themselves from the case at the request of Scruggs, whose lawyers contend none of them should hear the case since they are colleagues of Federal Judge William Acker, who initiated the criminal prosecution.

Scruggs gave the documents to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood rather than the judge.