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Now that Dickie Scruggs has pleaded guilty to bribing a judge, his former partner, Roberts Wilson, is seeking more than $15 million in damages in another fee dispute case and wants that case essentially re-started. Hinds County Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter ruled in favor of Scruggs in a fee dispute case over $15 million in legal fees for asbestos cases. DeLaughter has been officially suspended and is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly taking a bribe from Scruggs in exchange for that ruling. Two Scruggs’ cohorts have already pleaded guilty to a scheme that involved Scruggs offering DeLaughter a federal judgeship in exchange for the favorable ruling. Scruggs’ brother-in-law, Trent Lott, allegedly recommended DeLaughter for the judgeship, to which DeLaughter was never appointed. Lott has denied wrongdoing and Scruggs has not yet been charged with anything in the DeLaughter case. Alleging the entire case is now tainted, Wilson wants all Scruggs’ pleadings after January 2006 stricken. He is seeking more than $15 million in damages, plus interest for 14 years, expenses, attorneys fees and punitive damages. In a motion for sanctions filed April 22, Wilson’s attorneys revealed startling facts about the alleged bribery scheme, including the allegation that DeLaughter allowed Scruggs’ associates to author the scheduling order for the case. In a stunning reversal of fortune for one of the most celebrated plaintiff attorneys in the country, Scruggs recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Oxford, Miss., to trying to bribe a judge to get a favorable ruling in another fee dispute case. He is facing 15 years in prison and awaiting sentencing. Scruggs’ attorney, John Keker of San Francisco’s Keker & Van Nest, declined to comment.

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