Court orders Dickie Scruggs to Ky. federal prison

Published 5:45 pm Thursday, July 24, 2008

Famed anti-tobacco lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs has been ordered to report to a federal prison in Ashland, Ky., next month to start serving his five-year sentence for attempting to bribe a Mississippi judge.RD (AP) —

Documents filed Wednesday in federal court in Oxford also showed Scruggs’ son, Zach, will go to a federal prison in Pensacola, Fla., to serve his 14-month sentence for failing to report the crime.

Sidney Backstrom, also convicted of attempted bribery and sentenced to 28 months, previously was ordered to report to the prison in Forrest City, Ark.

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Dickie Scruggs and Backstrom are each to report to prison by Aug. 4. Zach Scruggs was told to report by Aug. 15.

In documents filed with the court Tuesday, Zach Scruggs asked that he and his father both be sent to the prison in Forrest City, Ark.

Zach Scruggs said that sending them to the same prison would “ease the travel burden” on his family, especially his “health-embattled mother,” Diane, who has Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal disorder.

Dickie Scruggs was indicted in November along with his son and Backstrom after another attorney wore a wire for the FBI and secretly recorded conversations about the plan to bribe Lafayette County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey.

Prosecutors said the elder Scruggs wanted a favorable ruling in a dispute over $26.5 million in legal fees from a mass settlement of Hurricane Katrina insurance cases.

Dickie Scruggs and Backstrom pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to bribe Lackey with $50,000.

Zach Scruggs pleaded guilty in March to misprision of a felony, meaning he knew a crime was committed but didn’t report it.

Dickie Scruggs gained fame in the 1990s by using a corporate insider against tobacco companies in lawsuits that resulted in a $206 billion settlement. That case was portrayed in the 1999 film “The Insider” that starred Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.