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South Mississippi Living 4/07

Thursday, July 26, 2007

U.S. attorney declines to prosecute Scruggs

The Associated Press
July 25, 2007

BIRMINGHAM — The U.S. attorney in Birmingham declined today a federal judge’s request to prosecute prominent Mississippi attorney Richard F. Scruggs and his law firm for criminal contempt in a Hurricane Katrina insurance dispute.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said in the letter to U.S. District Judge William M. Acker Jr. that “following a serious and thorough review of the facts surrounding this indirect criminal contempt,” she had decided not to prosecute Scruggs or his law firm.

In his June 15 request Acker said he would appoint another attorney to handle the prosecution if Martin declined the court’s request.

Acker’s office did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment this afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Martin’s office, Jill Ellis, said the U.S. attorney had no further comment beyond the letter.

Acker ruled in June that Scruggs “willfully violated” a Dec. 8 preliminary injunction that required him to deliver “all documents” about State Farm Insurance Co. that whistleblowers Cori and Kerri Rigsby secretly copied after Katrina.

Acker’s ruling came in a suit by E.A. Renfroe and Co. Inc., a claims adjusting firm that fired the Rigsbys after finding out they had taken internal documents.

Renfroe and Co. worked for State Farm, and the sisters were heavily involved in processing claims for the insurance giant.

Original article published here.

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