UPDATE: Scruggs seeks court OK for testimony from his father

By Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal

OXFORD – Former Oxford attorney Richard “Dickie” Scruggs has agreed to testify May 23 at a hearing sought to convince the court to throw out his son’s 2008 conviction and sentence.

U.S. District Court records show that Scruggs’ son, Zach, will pay for U.S. marshals to bring his father from an Ashland, Ky., prison to the Oxford hearing and back.

In a petition filed Thursday, attorney Edward D. “Chip” Robertson Jr. also told the court that Richard Scruggs’ testimony via sworn statement, called a deposition, would avoid any hardship on the Marshal’s Office and the Lafayette County Jail.

Zach Scruggs “will seek testimony from Richard Scruggs to meet his burden of proof” about whether Zach knew anything about a scheme to corruptly influence Circuit Judge Henry Lackey, the filing said.

His testimony will help his son do that, the filing states.

In 2007, Lackey presided over a legal-fees lawsuit against the Scruggses and others over Katrina-related insurance cases.

Richard Scruggs is serving time for a guilty plea in that attempted bribery case and in another aimed at former Hinds Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

At a Monday hearing, Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers said that it might take 30 days to get Richard Scruggs to Oxford, but that if his son would pay the costs, marshals could go get him and return him after the hearing.

In the new filing, Robertson reminded Biggers that he indicated he would consider permitting Richard Scruggs’ testimony via deposition “on certain conditions.”

He is willing, Robertson said, not to assert his Fifth Amendment rights – that is to give up his protection from self-incrimination – in response to questions about the Lackey scheme.

Last summer, Zach Scruggs filed documents asking the court to throw out his conviction and sentence from a guilty plea to knowing but not reporting that a colleague spoke illegally to Lackey about the lawsuit. He went to prison and lost his law license.

Now, he says a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling and new evidence show he was innocent of all charges, including the original indictment claiming his involvement in the Lackey scheme.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.