Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the legendary trial lawyer who made Big Business tremble every time he set foot in court, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to bribe a Mississippi judge — a case that will send him to prison and could spell the end of his storied legal career.
Prosecutors are asking for five years behind bars for the 61-year-old Scruggs, a multimillionaire who combined a shrewd legal mind and the aw-shucks charm of a Southern country lawyer to extract billion-dollar settlements from the tobacco and asbestos industries, among others. The giant of the plaintiffs' bar could lose his license to practice law.
Scruggs and co-defendant Sidney Backstrom both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States for conspiring to bribe a Mississippi judge for a favorable ruling in a legal-fees dispute from a Hurricane Katrina insurance lawsuit.
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