FBI document: Scruggs paid 2 men to persuade AG not to indict State Farm

A lawyer accused of trying to bribe a judge also paid two associates $500,000 to convince Attorney General Jim Hood not to file criminal charges against an insurance company over its handling of Hurricane Katrina claims, according to an FBI report in court records.

Plaintiffs lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, who sued State Farm Fire and Casualty Cos. soon after the 2005 storm, was afraid the company “was not going to settle the civil cases” if the attorney general’s office filed criminal charges, according to an FBI report filed Monday in the bribery case.

At the time, Attorney General Jim Hood was pursuing a criminal investigation against State Farm over what he claimed was the company’s fraudulent practices in denying homeowners’ insurance claims.

Scruggs agreed to pay New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci and former State Auditor Steve Patterson “if they could get Hood to relent on indicting” State Farm, according to a report written by FBI Agent William Delaney on Nov. 2, 2007.

Sun Herald