Even the Rich and Famous pay the price for being Dishonest and Unethical

All of our courses – in the U.S. and over seas, begin with the same message – ETHICS is the keystone of our profession and our success. It’s a shame that famed litigator – Richard “Dickie” Scruggs forgot that lesson.

In yesterday’s Washington Post, the headline reads; “Famed Litigator Gets 5-Year Term for Conspiracy to bribe Judge”. For those who are not familiar with him, Scruggs became one of the wealthiest and most famous lawyers in the country by taking on tobacco, insurance and asbestos companies.

What did he do? Well, for starters (and what they were able to prove), he attempted to bribe Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey by offering him $50,000.00. U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr., called Scruggs’ conduct “reprehensible” and told him that he picked the wrong Judge to bribe. In addition to the 5 year jail term, he was fined $250,000.00 and lost his law license.

You really got to love it when Justice is rightfully served. Unfortunately, it makes me wonder how many more sleazy lawyers around the country and unethical Judges are not getting reported and prosecuted. It is a little too hard to believe that Scruggs is the only dirt-bag in the legal profession. We welcome the message it sends out; “nobody is above the law”.

Like most, if not all common criminals, Richerd Scruggs became greedy. In 1990, Scruggs became famous for suing tobacco companies and winning lawsuits that resulted in a $206 BILLION dollar settlement. If his take of that was just 10%, he walked away with a cool $20.6 Billion dollars. A film was even made about the case – “The Insider” starred Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.

A decade later he is trying to bribe a Judge with $50,000? I would say it was a combination of greed and power going to his head. Maybe that is why the “Post” reported that he nearly fainted and swayed from side to side when the Judge scolded him. He had to sit down before the sentence was read out. He must have believed that he was untouchable.

It’s just a shame that he wasn’t touched with a heavier sentence. A twenty year sentence would have sent out an even more powerful message. Still and all, the idea of wearing a prison jumpsuit and eating balogna sandwiches is probably like a life sentence to someone who believed themselves to be above the law.

The article claims that many high profile friends petitioned Judge Biggers for leniency when sentencing Scruggs. He’s lucky I am not the warden at his jail. I think he would be a perfect candidate for the toilet cleaning squad.

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