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A federal judge overseeing a bribery case against Richard “Dickie” Scruggs on Thursday ruled that Scruggs could get a fair trial in Oxford, Miss., and denied the plaintiff attorney’s request for a change of venue. The ruling was one of several by U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers against Scruggs and in favor of the government during two days of hearings in Oxford. The case against Scruggs is heating up with the news that Scruggs’ brother-in-law � former Senator Trent Lott, R-Miss. � is now under investigation as part of a related case. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Lott is being investigated by the FBI, which is looking into whether Scruggs asked Lott to help famed Mississippi state judge Bobby DeLaughter get a federal judgeship in exchange for a favorable ruling in a fee dispute case. Lott has said in published reports that he did speak to DeLaughter, but another judge was ultimately picked for the judgeship. It is unclear whether DeLaughter is also under investigation. Sources told the National Law Journal the case is in the hands of a grand jury. DeLaughter did not return calls for comment. The DeLaughter case is separate from the ongoing case playing out in Biggers’ courtroom, but the two are becoming intertwined and Lott is expected to testify in the case before Biggers. In a case that has rocked the legal community of Mississippi and beyond, Scruggs has been charged, along with several co-defendants, of attempting to bribe a judge to rule his way in a $26.5 million fee dispute with another lawyer. Two co-defendants have plead guilty and testified against Scruggs during the Wednesday and Thursday all-day hearings. Scruggs, his son, Zack, and another lawyer at the firm, Sidney Backstrom, have all plead not guilty in the case, which is scheduled for trial March 31. Biggers withheld ruling from the bench on several other defense motions, including a motion to suppress government evidence based on illegal wiretaps and a motion to sever Scruggs’ case from two other defendants. Biggers ruled that Scruggs could get a fair trial in Oxford despite intense publicity surrounding the case. On Wednesday, Biggers ruled against Scruggs’s motion to dismiss the case based on outrageous conduct tantamount to entrapment by the government. Biggers will issue the remaining rulings early next week, according to his law clerk. If convicted, Scruggs could face a maximum of 75 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

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