Dickie Scruggs Sentenced to Five Years
Mississippi lawyer Dickie Scruggs, brother-in-law of Trent Lott, was sentenced to five years in federal prison today for conspiring to bribe a judge:
Scruggs, a former Navy pilot, is tall, slender and appeared composed as he entered the courthouse. But he caved when Biggers brought up his family. His wife, Diane, has been gravely ill.
At the mention of her and his daughter, Claire, Scruggs began to shake as he stood before the judge. His attorney, John Keker of San Francisco, put an arm around Scruggs, whose knees buckled before another attorney slid a chair forward so he could sit down.
Scruggs was contrite. [More...]
Before that, he had offered a statement to the judge: "I could not be more ashamed to be where I am today. I realized that I was getting mixed up in it and I will go to my grave not understanding why.
"I have disappointed everyone in my life. My wife, family and friends..."I deeply regret my conduct. It is a scar and a stain on my soul."
Scruggs did not cooperate with prosecutors. The judge today seemed to imply he ought to.
[Judge] Biggers found that at least five people, including Scruggs' son Zach, participated in the conspiracy. He said Scruggs will have a chance to study a copy of the pre-sentencing report while he is in prison. He said one of the conspiracy participants, Timothy Balducci, "said you know where a lot of bodies are buried. It might do you some good to uncover some of those bodies."
Scruggs' son Zach Scruggs will be sentenced July 2. He pleased guilty to misprison (failure to report a felony) -- maximum sentence four years.
Why did Scruggs plead guilty? Probably, as I wrote here, he didn't have much choice. Despite having one of the best white collar defense lawyers in the country, John Keker, things weren't going his way:
The court docket shows the judge had already denied his motions to suppress the wiretap and dismiss the case on grounds of outrageous government conduct. The judge also agreed that "other acts" evidence from another case could come in.
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