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'Tort King' to have appeal heard in March

OXFORD — Attorneys for Richard F. “Dickie” Scruggs, a noted plaintiff’s lawyer before being snared in a corruption investigation, will argue his innocence March 4 before a federal appeals court.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear the case.

Scruggs, 66, is free on $2-million bond while he appeals a 2009 guilty plea that he improperly influenced then Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter in legal fees dispute.

Scruggs says his contacts with DeLaughter were political speech, not bribery. Scruggs has finished a sentence for a scheme to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey.

DeLaughter pleaded guilty in 2009 to obstruction of justice in a corruption investigation involving Scruggs. DeLaughter admitted lying to an FBI agent during the investigation. He is out of prison.

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