Famed anti-tobacco attorney Scruggs sentenced to prison

OXFORD, Miss. — Attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who earned his reputation in the 1990s by winning a $206 billion settlement from tobacco companies, was sentenced to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines for trying to bribe a Mississippi district court judge in an insurance case stemming from Hurricane Katrina.

In sentencing Scruggs, Judge Neal D. Biggers Jr. called the crime "reprehensible." Before sentencing, Scruggs told the judge, "I could not be more ashamed to be where I am today. I realized I was getting mixed up in it and I will go to my grave wondering why. I have disappointed everyone in my life - my wife, family and friends here to support me today. I deeply regret my conduct. It is a scar and a stain on my soul."

Biggers ordered Scruggs to report to prison at noon Aug. 4, saying he should be housed in a facility that offers mental health and drug treatment.

He pleaded guilty in March to conspiring in 2007 to bribe Circuit Court Judge Henry L. Lackey, who cooperated with federal investigators.

Biggers entered the courtroom at 10 a.m. sharp and it was soon obvious from what he said about the findings in the pre-sentencing report, that the judge would hand down a stiff sentence.

Biggers said Scruggs had entered into the scheme so easily that it made him wonder whether Scruggs had done such a thing before, and indeed evidence indicates that he may have.

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