OXFORD (WLBT) - New developments in the ongoing Dickie Scruggs, "justice for sale" scandal.
A federal civil lawsuit has been filed by attorney Bob Wilson, claiming Scruggs and others conspired with an unnamed former U.S. Senator to defraud him out of millions of dollars in legal fees.
The Wilson vs. Scruggs lawsuit claims, Scruggs, his son Zach, former District Attorney Ed Peters, Steve Patterson, Timothy Balducci and the unnamed former senator were involved in bribery, corruption of a public official, obstruction of justice, embezzlement and racketeering. A pattern of corruption over a period of time, that Wilson's attorney Bill Kirksey told WLBT News Tuesday, exists in this case.
The court document states that Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter and a former U.S. senator joined the conspiracy, working with the Scruggs group in their attempt to thwart and defraud the U.S. District Court and Scruggs former law partner Bob Wilson. Scruggs and Wilson, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., once worked together suing asbestos companies. Wilson claimed Scruggs cheated him out of money and used it to fund a batch of landmark anti-tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s, in which Scruggs reportedly earned as much as $848 million. Wilson sued for a cut.
The former senator is not identified in the Federal lawsuit. However, the only senator whose name has surfaced in a federal investigation into judicial bribery in Mississippi is Trent lott. Lott abruptly announced his resignation from the Senate November 26, 2007. Just two days later Senator Lott's brother-in-law, "Dickie" Scruggs, a high-profile trial lawyer best known for suing big tobacco and insurance companies, was indicted on bribery charges.
In August of 2006, DeLaughter ruled against Wilson and in favor of Scruggs. Judge DeLaughter rendered a zero judgement on asbestos fees in Scruggs favor against Wilson. One of Wilson's attorneys, Vicki Slater of Jackson, said the unnamed senator is Scruggs' brother-in-law, Trent Lott.
Bret Boyles, a spokesman with Lott's lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., said they learned about the lawsuit through the media and had no comment. Senator Lott and Judge DeLaughter have denied any wrongdoing.