Embattled tort attorney takes 5th over bribery questions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Embattled tort attorney takes 5th over bribery questions

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Embattled tort attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs has testified in a civil trial but invoked his 5th Amendment right against self incrimination when questioned about his role in a bribery scheme.

Scruggs appeared today (Tuesday) for the hearing in Lafayette County Circuit Court in a lawsuit over $26.5 million in legal fees. The lawsuit was filed against Scruggs by a law firm that claims it was shortchanged for its work on Hurricane Katrina litigation.

It's the same case that led to federal bribery charges against Scruggs, his son and several associates. The men have all pleaded guilty to charges related to a conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey for a favorable ruling in the case.

Lackey, who also took the stand, reported the bribe attempt last year and worked undercover with the FBI. Lackey testified that he initially didn't want to believe that his friend, New Albany attorney Timothy Balducci, was trying to influence him on Scruggs' behalf. Balducci was the first person to plead guilty in the federal bribery probe. He has cooperated with authorities.

Special Circuit Judge William Coleman was appointed to preside over the fee dispute case.       Scruggs took the 5th at least 19 times today when asked about the bribery scheme.

 

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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