(Zach) Scruggs Nation, March 21: All in the Family edition

A reader provided me with some outstanding research on Zach’s defense team, including some stuff from my own blog.  Remember, the team now includes Mike Moore, Todd Graves, Chip Robertson and Mary Winter. 

Graves is the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, who, according to this press release, left resigned his office on March 24, 2006. Remember that date.

Here is the Kerri Rigsby deposition transcript I posted some months ago and referred to again just a few days ago.  Look again, starting on pages 16 and 17.  You will see, as I’ve mentioned before, Rigsby testifies to meeting in a trailer with Dickie Scruggs and some other lawyers: "Tony DeWitt, Mary, Todd and Chip."  Tony DeWitt and Mary Winter are former law clerks for Chip Robertson when he was on the Missouri Supreme Court, and worked for his firm.   But who is Todd? Rigsby testified this Trailer Summit took place sometime in March 2006, she wasn’t specific as to the date.  According to the press release, Graves didn’t leave office until March 24, which leaves seven days in March after he is out of office to meet with Rigsby.

We may assume the Todd mentioned is Todd Graves, because his name appears on the complaint of the Ex rel. Rigsby False Claims Act lawsuit filed the next month, along with Dickie Scruggs and Chip Robertson, Tony DeWitt and Mary Winter. (Look at the end of the lawsuit for the attorney signatures).  Someone of Graves’ reputation would surely have worked on the case before it was filed, rather than just consenting to have his name added. 

Here is a press release from 2007 showing Robertson’s previous involvement with the Scruggs firm on some kind of nursing home lawsuit (Sid Backstrom’s name is also mentioned, you have to scroll down a bit to find it).

Robertson’s connections with Scruggs go way back — in fact, he resigned from the Missouri Supreme Court to get in on the tobacco litigation, according to this article in the Kansas City Business Journal.  His firm continues to represent the Rigsby sisters in the "whistleblower" lawsuit.  

Question: how did Graves get involved in all of this so early, considering he was a U.S. Attorney from another jurisdiction right before the False Claims Act was filed?

Interesting, isn’t it, how Dickie Scruggs likes to keep it all in the family? And interesting how all these Rigsby sisters lawyers are now representing Zach. A Scruggs legal affair is like a Cohen brothers movie, the cast is always the same.

Now for something totally different, I’ll close with this item: Is Jim Hood going to to get wiretap authority? Heavens! Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Also, hearing at 10 a.m. today in Oxford, Mississippi on Zach Scruggs’ latest motions.  Here’s the notice.

 

9 Comments

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9 Responses to (Zach) Scruggs Nation, March 21: All in the Family edition

  1. DeltaNative

    Word is Zack has pled guilty to misprision of a felony today.

  2. hazel75

    Interesting about Graves. Very interesting.

  3. KC Lawyer

    As a long-time Kansas City lawyer, I should tell you that it would surprise no one if Todd Graves allowed his name to be signed to a pleading without his prior material involvement given the other lawyers involved here. Chip Robertson’s law firm has a track record of success on the plaintiffs’ side and, in my experience, the lawyers there are honorable.

  4. Wolf

    I have worked with Tony DeWitt. He is an honest man and a good lawyer. I’m sorry he’s gotten yoked to these troubles, but I have no doubt that he will come out of all of this with his integrity and reputation intact.

  5. MORE COWBELL

    I’m trying to grasp this picture in a FEMA trailer in my mind: we’ve got D.S., the Sisters, a U.S. Attorney, a state Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a State Farm Computer, State Farm coozies, a State Farm password, and State Farm documents. . . . hmmmm, got to be quite a story there. Could they have been working on the formaldehyde exposure case (just filed this week?).

  6. M Williams

    Now that hysteria boils down to the useless measure of the ethics of law, it’s time to reach into what law does for the State of Mississippi. This is an open letter to Mr. Hood, the present Attorney General, a soft but interesting
    hors deuvre – say, an asparagus smear for the future of lawyers about to leave Ole Miss:
    TO ATTORNEY GENERAL HOOD: Please describe the nature of your job, how you are paid, who pays your funding, how your spend your leisure time, if you have ever worked FOR an Assistant Appointee of your office, and if you have ever been paid by any Assistant Appointee, e.g., Mr. Langston, et. al.
    1. How many trips did your former Attorney General make on behalf of the lawfirm of Dickie Scruggs, Don Barrett, and Ness Motley during, after, and in the finalized stage of the “Arbitration Panel Fees”? State the governing law which provides for a State A.G. to provide “collection service fees” for Assistant A.G. which are outside the State of Missisissippi?
    2. How many consultations have you had with the former Attorney General regarding the collection of fee-payments from the “Arbitration Panels” out of Mississippi? Do your hours in office reflect any “collection or advertising” for any privatized “appointed” Attorney General/Assistant(s) A.G.?
    3. How many billable hours (equal to private lawyer billables) do you have on file for Mike Moore’s travels to other States for the purpose of exposing to the fee panels the actual or imagined “fees” due to the above mentioned firms and individuals? Was Moore using a private jet to travel; if so, whose firm provided that jet?
    4. What do you know, if anything, that the State of Mississippi received as a benefit from Moore’s travels to up the ante for private firms OUTSIDE the State of Mississippi?
    5. What law allows a State Attorney General to maintain a private business practice of collecting fees for out-of-State travel?
    6. Has the present administration received any benefits from the “Arbitration fee” panels decisions; if so, what amounts and when?
    7. What was Mike Moore’s “first” tobacco expense reimbursement figure? What part of the half billion “lawyer’s Arbitration fee” goes to Mississippi lawyers from tobacco companies, who receives the money, who disburses the money, and how much of the money does Mr. Scruggs receive per annum? Mr. Barrett?
    8. During the “Arbitration Panel” fees were distributed in accordance to contribution. One man represented Mississippi. What is the name of the man who presented an award to Mississippi, and what fee amount did this arbitrator receive for his work for lawyer fees? Did Mr. Moore receive any sum from the Arbitrator, and if so, did Mr. Moore return to the State of Mississippi any of the monies received as Attorney General?
    9. Before you assumed office as the Attorney General of Mississippi, what was your understanding of out-of-state business travel for your appointed Assistant Attorneys General, and did you ever “collect” fees for “Assistant A.G. services” from Defendants through travel, use of private jets, hotel accomodations, road travel, or did you use fascilities of any former or on-going Assistant A.G. for your own leisure without the knowledge of your electorate? With the knowledge of your electorate?
    10. Have you ever discussed fee-payments for “appointments” with any consultant, including Mike Moore?
    11. In the total settlement in State of Mississippi, Ex Rel vs. tobacco, et. al., what amount(s) of money have been used for the purpose of health clinics, medicine, doctors, nurses, nursing care, fascilities for tobacco-related disease, including COPD, lung cancer, SIDS, asthma, premature birth, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, ovarian cancer, or any type of monies benefiting to the “amorphous Plaintiff”, i.e., the people of Mississippi?
    12. Compare the amounts of funding received by the firms of Barrett, Scruggs, Motley, on a per annum basis, with the actual amounts of funding for critical, meaningful, significant, hands-on care given to the “amorphous Plaintiff’s” in the State of Mississippi?

  7. M Williams

    Now that hysteria boils down to the useless measure of the ethics of law, it’s time to reach into what law does for the State of Mississippi. This is an open letter to Mr. Hood, the present Attorney General, a soft but interesting
    hors deuvre – say, an asparagus smear for the future of lawyers about to leave Ole Miss:
    TO ATTORNEY GENERAL HOOD: Please describe the nature of your job, how you are paid, who pays your funding, how your spend your leisure time, if you have ever worked FOR an Assistant Appointee of your office, and if you have ever been paid by any Assistant Appointee, e.g., Mr. Langston, et. al.
    1. How many trips did your former Attorney General make on behalf of the lawfirm of Dickie Scruggs, Don Barrett, and Ness Motley during, after, and in the finalized stage of the “Arbitration Panel Fees”? State the governing law which provides for a State A.G. to provide “collection service fees” for Assistant A.G. which are outside the State of Missisissippi?
    2. How many consultations have you had with the former Attorney General regarding the collection of fee-payments from the “Arbitration Panels” out of Mississippi? Do your hours in office reflect any “collection or advertising” for any privatized “appointed” Attorney General/Assistant(s) A.G.?
    3. How many billable hours (equal to private lawyer billables) do you have on file for Mike Moore’s travels to other States for the purpose of exposing to the fee panels the actual or imagined “fees” due to the above mentioned firms and individuals? Was Moore using a private jet to travel; if so, whose firm provided that jet?
    4. What do you know, if anything, that the State of Mississippi received as a benefit from Moore’s travels to up the ante for private firms OUTSIDE the State of Mississippi?
    5. What law allows a State Attorney General to maintain a private business practice of collecting fees for out-of-State travel?
    6. Has the present administration received any benefits from the “Arbitration fee” panels decisions; if so, what amounts and when?
    7. What was Mike Moore’s “first” tobacco expense reimbursement figure? What part of the half billion “lawyer’s Arbitration fee” goes to Mississippi lawyers from tobacco companies, who receives the money, who disburses the money, and how much of the money does Mr. Scruggs receive per annum? Mr. Barrett?
    8. During the “Arbitration Panel” fees were distributed in accordance to contribution. One man represented Mississippi. What is the name of the man who presented an award to Mississippi, and what fee amount did this arbitrator receive for his work for lawyer fees? Did Mr. Moore receive any sum from the Arbitrator, and if so, did Mr. Moore return to the State of Mississippi any of the monies received as Attorney General?
    9. Before you assumed office as the Attorney General of Mississippi, what was your understanding of out-of-state business travel for your appointed Assistant Attorneys General, and did you ever “collect” fees for “Assistant A.G. services” from Defendants through travel, use of private jets, hotel accomodations, road travel, or did you use fascilities of any former or on-going Assistant A.G. for your own leisure without the knowledge of your electorate? With the knowledge of your electorate?
    10. Have you ever discussed fee-payments for “appointments” with any consultant, including Mike Moore?
    11. In the total settlement in State of Mississippi, Ex Rel vs. tobacco, et. al., what amount(s) of money have been used for the purpose of health clinics, medicine, doctors, nurses, nursing care, fascilities for tobacco-related disease, including COPD, lung cancer, SIDS, asthma, premature birth, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, ovarian cancer, or any type of monies benefiting to the “amorphous Plaintiff”, i.e., the people of Mississippi?
    12. Compare the amounts of funding received by the firms of Barrett, Scruggs, Motley, on a per annum basis, with the actual amounts of funding for critical, meaningful, significant, hands-on care given to the “amorphous Plaintiff’s” in the State of Mississippi?