OXFORD, Miss. — Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who became one of the wealthiest civil lawsuit attorneys in the country by taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for conspiring to bribe a judge.
Scruggs, 62, nearly fainted as the judge scolded him, and people in the courtroom gasped as he swayed. He had to be seated for a time.
U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. called Scruggs' conduct "reprehensible," noting that evidence indicated he had conspired before. He gave him the full sentence requested by prosecutors and fined him $250,000. Scruggs also will lose his law license.
"I could not be more ashamed of where I am today, mixed up in a judicial bribery scheme," he said. "I have disappointed everyone in my life." Prosecutors said he wanted a favorable ruling in a dispute over $26.5-million in legal fees from a mass settlement of Hurricane Katrina insurance cases. He asked to serve his time at the U.S. prison camp in Pensacola.