Wilson: Scruggs owes millions

Dickie Scruggs, once Mississippi’s best-known litigator, owes millions in sanctions and punitive damages to former law partner Bob Wilson, Wilson’s attorneys argued Thursday.

Scruggs’ attorneys responded that the case can’t be disturbed because it is closed and because Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter ruled correctly in the matter.

After hearing arguments, Circuit Judge Al Johnson of Natchez said he will enter a written opinion in the case at a later time. Johnson was specially appointed to hear the case because the other Hinds County circuit judges recused themselves.

Both Scruggs and his then-attorney, Joey Langston of Booneville, have pleaded guilty to scheming to corruptly influence DeLaughter to rule in Scruggs’ favor in the legal fees dispute involving asbestos litigation.

DeLaughter, who is suspended from the bench pending a hearing by the state Commission on Judicial Performance, also has been charged in the case. He has said he is innocent of the charges, never took a bribe and ruled in accordance with law.

His trial is set for Aug. 17.

In 2005, a federal magistrate judge ordered Scruggs to pay $17 million to another former partner, Alwyn Luckey, for legal fees in that asbestos litigation.

Clarion-Ledger 4/17/9