Federal prosecutors are rolling out their bribery evidence against tort baron Dickie Scruggs, and the drama includes wiretaps, secret meetings and code words. But the most intriguing news may be that Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is now looming larger in the case.
Mr. Scruggs, his son Zach, and law partner Sid Backstrom are accused of bribing a state judge. The government has now released files in response to Mr. Scruggs’s demand that federal Judge Neal Biggers dismiss the case. Judge Biggers took one look at the evidence and told Mr. Scruggs to get ready for trial.
At issue is a dispute that state Judge Henry Lackey was overseeing between Mr. Scruggs and a rival firm over $26 million in fees. Lawyer Timothy Balducci (who has pleaded guilty) has testified that Dickie Scruggs dispatched him to convince Judge Lackey to rule in a way that was favorable to the Scruggs Law Firm. Judge Lackey felt a bribe had been implied and began working with federal agents. Balducci began wearing a wire for the feds.