There are some 248-odd letters in the federal courthouse in Oxford written about Scruggs. We miscounted the first time because the names are repeated in each notebook, where the letters have been neatly arranged and bound. Not many are anti-Scruggs writers, but Mississippi Bar president Robert Bailess was one of them.
Four journalists and one blogger attorney are plowing through them. It’s all very civilized. We’re sharing information we run across in each of the five volumes, which also include letters written on behalf of Scruggs’ son, attorney Zach Scruggs, and attorney Sidney Backstrom.
The judge, who could give Dickie Scruggs and Backstrom up to five years in prison, heard from a television producer, attorneys all over the country, the Ole Miss chancellor and some of the policyholders Scruggs represented in Katrina cases before he plunged this year from the height of his profession to no profession at all.
Rex Deloach, retired accountant from Oxford, knows of Scruggs’ generosity to Ole Miss, where he has donated millions and promised more. Deloach, who served as an interim vice chancellor for finance at Ole Miss after retirement in 1996, said Scruggs is “fundamentally a good person.”
Numerous Coast attorneys wrote in: Leonard Blackwell, Paul Benton, Russell Gill, Lowry Lomax, Walter Umphrey and Lee Young. Also sending letters are policyholders whom Scruggs represented in Katrina cases before the FBI raided his office in November.
Several members of the Page, Mannino law firm in Biloxi weighed in for Zach, blogger attorney Tom Freeland said. Freeland, who already has combed through that file, is blogging for folo.us, where Mississippi politics, all things Scruggs, blues, food and kittens are hot topics.
University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert C. Khayat has this to say in closing his letter about Scruggs: “It is my belief that any time he spends being incarcerated is an absolute waste of a great deal of talent and ability.
“He has much to offer society and is a public-spirited person. Furthermore, it would appear to be a waste of taxpayers’ money. Punishment is relative to the individual. A man such as Dick has been amply punished by the loss of his profession and his public stature.”
Former University of Southern Mississippi president Aubrey Lucas also wrote a letter for Scruggs.