Scruggs Roundup: DOJ’s Pursuit, New Katrina Lawyers, and the New Yorker’s Take

Mississippi — to its economic and political credit — is growing inhospitable to its “rich” tort bar, which, as a result, is becoming “less fabulously rich,” according to the WSJ Edit Page’s Stephen Moore. Reading the opinion piece, we couldn’t help think of our fallen friend, Dickie Scruggs, who was once very fabulous but has become somewhat less fabulous in the past six months with his criminal conviction on a charge of conspiring to bribe a judge. Herewith, Scruggs-related pieces of news and a bonus feature:

The Clarion Ledger is reporting that, as part of the ongoing investigation into Scruggs and others, the DOJ is considering racketeering as a possible next charge to pursue against Scruggs, suggesting that the DOJ believes it can make out a pattern of judicial bribery by Scruggs.

On Thursday, according to the Sun Herald, about 200 ex-Scruggs clients from the State Farm insurance litigation, previously represented by a coalition of lawyers previously known as the Katrina Litigation Group, met with a personal injury firm in Beaumont, Texas called Provost-Umphrey. (As the piece points out, it’s not clear why KLG referred the plaintiffs to a Texas firm that specializes in personal injury.)

The New Yorker magazine today has a ginormous feature on Scruggs. For Scruggs hounds (like us) who’ve been following the saga all along, reading time is best spent on the last few pages. The reporter, Peter Boyer, turned up some nice details about how the bribe went down. The infamous Timothy Balducci didn’t set out to bribe Judge Lackey, though he eventually did, Boyer writes. And even P.L. Blake made a cameo in the whole affair. Our favorite details: When the feds nabbed Balducci and tried to enlist him in nailing Scruggs, AUSA Tom Dawson told him “‘The only question is, will you see your children graduate from high school.’ Balducci did not hesitate. ‘What do you want me to do.’”

WSJ Lawblog
5/12/8