Many have said the case is worthy of a John Grisham novel, but he wasn’t the writer Scruggs’ attorney, John Keker, thought could do the story justice.
“I think it would take a (William) Faulkner or a Walker Percy to understand how people – how these kinds of things happen,” Keker told Biggers. “But there’s a passivity about Dick Scruggs in this instance that I think I’m beginning to understand, but I just don’t understand how it all happened.”
Clarksdale lawyer Charles Merkel Jr. thinks he does. An attorney client of Merkel’s was involved in another protracted legal-fee dispute with Scruggs.
Scruggs even sued Merkel during the course of the litigation, spending $1.7 million to fight over $4,800, by Merkel’s estimation. The case was thrown out. Merkel is suing Scruggs for malicious prosecution.
He attended Scruggs’ sentencing Friday and commented afterward on the motive: “I think personal pride, personal ego, having had success with things that were on the edge of accepted behavior for so long that he had reached the point where any means to an end was OK. He thought he was invincible, bulletproof, if you will.”