Richard Scruggs pleads guilty in Mississippi bribery case

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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