Friday, November 19, 2010

There is more,

Reading NMiss Commentator lately I have begun to think there is more about the Richard Scruggs matter which interests me. So, this site will be re-awakened.

I became interested again when I read a few comments at this run of comments.

In the past, I wondered why Judge Lackey became "a prosecutor" ('s) agent regarding Richard Scruggs. At the location mentioned, I see that others seem to be raising points which question Judge Lackey's real interest(s) in the whole Scruggs matter. These interests are quite oblique. The judge is presented as a hero of the law. But, I wonder. I hope he is pure as the driven snow (a term used on the Northern Tier), but I wonder.

Before, I have raised questions. Is it right for a judge to become an agent of the FBI? What does Judge Lackey's interest in law enforcement that say about the role of judges? Should the judge 's state tolerate this? What do the lawyers in the state think? Are they not troubled, at least a bit, at least enough to say something? Alas, I can find no criticism.

I recall implying, at least, that it seems quite untoward for Judge Lackey to be taking advantage of a friend of his, a young lawyer whom he had "mentored" -- to ruin his life. Ruining his friend's life enabled him (Judge Lackey) to bring down (I think he said something like this --Judge Lackey's nemesis? -- Richard Scruggs. (I am sure I said this somewhere) .

I recall saying (or at least thinking) why is this judge playing on his friend Tim Balducci to suck him into a bribe? Balducci merely engaged in bit of earwigging -- something quite common in Mississippi. So common the system had to say something about it -- what other jurisdiction has said something about earwigging? No one else has heard of the idea -- indeed when we do we mispell the term "earwhigging."

The good judge worked on friend from the spring to the fall as best I recall to get something from him about Richard Scruggs. My goodness, would any of you do this?

More impotantly, is this something judges do? -- become FBI agents? If so, the game played in Mississippi is quite odd, to say the least.

Monday, December 21, 2009

WSJ Blog Comment When DeLaughter Was Sentenced

Here is the only comment to a WSJ Law Blog post regarding the sentencing of Judge Bobby DeLaughter put out in November, 2009:

Down here in MS wrote:
• Don’t close the book yet.
• Eaton v Frisby (a few little sealed documents in that case re Ed Peters)
• Several cases still pending against Scruggs (seems some other lawyers are now going after him)
What about those 8 sealed documents in DeLaughter case? yea, docket seems to
‘jump’ over several hidden entries…
• What about PL Blake. Don’t know him? Check out 2004 transcript of Scruggs in Wilson v Scruggs case. Then check out 2005 trial transcript in Luckey v Scruggs. Oh, and there’s the little matter of the wiretaps in the Scruggs case. End of April this year, PL hired some lawyers. And US Atty confirmed in October ongoing

I have an inkling there is more to come, . . .

I have an inkling there is more to come regarding the Scruggs / Mississippi Courts Saga. So for now, at least, I am going to reawaken this site. See this Comment.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Sun Herald has an article by Anita Lee on January 21, 2008 telling us a bit more about PL Blake:

A man who remains somewhat of a mystery, former Delta farmer P.L. Blake, is also part of the mix. The Scruggs team earned around $1 billion suing tobacco companies, and although Scruggs has fought sharing his fees in this and other cases with some attorneys, he had no qualms about agreeing to pay Blake $50 million over 20 years for work that led to a multistate settlement of tobacco litigation.

Litigation against Big Tobacco in the mid to late 90s was a legal and political minefield. Scruggs and Moore have said Blake had an inside track on the politics. Blake has explained he simply clipped newspaper articles, watched C-SPAN and tried to gauge the political winds for Scruggs.

Patterson's attorney, Hiram Eastland Jr., 57, said as a young boy he frequently encountered the older Blake on the Eastland plantation in Doddsville. Eastland described Blake as a quiet and gentlemanly fellow, always with a crisp crease in his khakis.

Former Gov. J.P. Coleman thought of Blake as a son, Eastland said. Eastland's father, Hiram "Chester" Sr., and Chester Eastland's first cousin, powerful U.S. Sen. James O. Eastland, were friends to Blake. Young Hiram Jr. said his father and the senator didn't drink coffee, but kept a pot brewing on the plantation for Blake's visits.

Blake also happens to be close friends not only with Scruggs, but with Steve Patterson, a fellow horse-breeding enthusiast. Scruggs and Patterson trust Blake implicitly, court records show.

PL Blake and the New York Times

This article in the New York Times by Nelson D. Schwartz is of interest -- The Legal Trail in a Delta Drama, January 20, 2008.

Pete Perry and the PL Blake File

From a story by Bill Minor in the Desoto Times Tribune in on October 16, 2008 -- USDA boss Walters has checkered past -- we find this:
Another, Pete Perry, was fired in 1983 after numerous complaints about his management. Months after his departure, Perry was discovered by a longtime employee prowling through the agency's files on a Sunday night. It was later learned Perry had never turned in all his keys when he left the job. Somehow, no criminal or disciplinary action was ever taken by the USDA.

What adds a weird dimension to Perry's Sunday night escapade is that on a desk was found an open file of P.L. Blake, a large-scale agricultural operator from Greenwood who was then a target in a federal investigation into a Texas-based multi-million dollar farm loan scandal. Blake escaped any penalty in that case but several years later was nailed on a federal charge and fined for giving false information on a Mississippi bank loan.

Yes, this is the same P.L. Blake whose name surfaced earlier this year in the bizarre judicial bribery downfall of famed trial attorney Dickie Scruggs. Blake, evidence in the Scruggs prosecution had shown, was paid $10 million by Scruggs and promised up to $50 million to “keep his ear to the ground” and clip news stories (huh?) during Scruggs' management of lawsuits that recovered the multi-billion dollar damages against tobacco companies.

PL Blake and the $50 Million: Did he spread it around?

This post is pure mental speculation. One might imagine PL Blake might have been spreading money around from the $50 million he was and is being paid in installments for his political/litigation efforts. One thinks a bit of the story line regarding the campaign lobbyist characters in John Grisham's The Appeal (2008).

In the Scruggs - Lackey matter it does not seem one could say that Mr. Blake was spreading money around.

Why? It is very simple. If he was spreading money around why would he have been involved in conversations in which the $40,000 Lackey requested bribe was to be paid by Scruggs? He would not have, he would have just paid it himself. But he didn't. And, any overtures by Balducci regarding the amount would not have involved Scruggs, but they did. Thus, by this event one could not say Mr. Blake was acting as a bagman.

But, one does wonder anew about the extent and customs of earwigging in Mississippi. Seems a bit reasonable.

Tom Anderson and Dick Scruggs

A little over a year ago, NMC (Tom Freeland) on FOLO reported that Richard Scruggs had paid for over half of million dollars in campaign advertising for Tom Freeland in his campaign against George Dale for congress in Mississippi. See the March 2008 FOLO entry.

Here is Mr. Freeland's summary of some of the Tim Balducci grand jury testimony:

Patterson and Balducci went to meet Scruggs about the Anderson campaign, in which Scruggs had invested a half million dollars for t.v. commercials and print ads to beat George Dale, and when they went in, “Mr. Scruggs unsolicited said I’ve already alked to P.L. and I know Steve you’ve talked to P.L. and I just want you to know that everything’s okay. Y’all go ahead and get it done, and you’re covered.”

Balducci Testimony from FOLO.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

P.L. Blake: The Move to Birmingham, Alabama

P.L. Blake and Shirley F. Blake had lived in the Greenwood, Mississippi area for years -- for Mr. Blake since he was a child. In 2008 they were no longer to be found living in the area. They moved to a residential area south of Birmingham, into a new home in a housing development.

Records show they moved to 2101 Christina Cove, Birmingham, Alabama in 2008. See the Huffington Post Campaign Contribution Records.

The home is in a new residential area. It is not unlike other homes in the neighborhood. See, e.g.,

It must have been hard for the Blakes to leave Greenwood. Their roots in the area must have been very deep, even into the mysteries of the place, the land, the treasures of historical events. Such a move would have broken one's heart.

Robert E. Powell and P.L. Blake, Inc.

Robert E. Powell was one of the incorporators with P.L. Blake of P.L. Blake, Inc. The records show his address on Old Highway 7 running between Greenwood and Holcomb. This is farm country.

Mark Blake has a home in Holcomb. The home is said to have been in the name of P.L. Blake until 2008. See FOLO.

Note, Shirley F. Blake lists a Greenwood address for political contribution purposes in 2000 and Birmingham for contributions in 2008.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

PL Blake -- 1965 Business Location

208 Fulton Street, Greenwood, MS -- An early place of business for P.L. Blake

According to records of the Mississippi Secretary of State, Corporation Division, P.L. Blake, Inc. did business at 208 1/2 Fulton Street. (Note in the picture, there are two doors at the address. One might be the "1/2" -- use of "1/2" at an address usually means the second floor of a location if the second floor has its own entrance.

The location is the office of the registed agent of of P.L. Blake, Inc., P.L. Blake, who was also an incorporator. Another incorporator was Robert E. Powell of Greenwood.

P.L. Blake, Inc. was incorporated in March of 1965. The corporation has been dissolved but the records do not show when. If I am right this must have been an early business of P.L. Blake. He would have been about 28 years of age (he graduated from university in 1959 and played professional football (in Canada?) for a time).

Mt. S. Helens, The Transitory Nature of Life, the Characters in the Scruggs Drama

In two days it will be 20 years since the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington Cascade Mountains. With friends I climbed to the top of the mountain in 1976. It was a beautiful day, clear, not too warm. The summit was a perfect place from which to view Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters even further south in Cascade Mountains.

The mountain top we climbed is now gone. It exploded into fine dust and spread throughout the world. In Eastern Washington, 270 miles away, the dust came down like snow. I had over an inch of the stuff in my yard and on my house. The city was covered in a blanket of beige dust.

Colleen Rowell, one of our climbing group that day in 1976, is now deceased, her life claimed by Alzheimer's.

Why ponder about such things? It seems to me we have a hard time remembering the transitory nature of things. We want to deny the transitiveness which permeates existence.

So how does this apply to the Scruggs Matter? The Scruggs Matter and the characters and the actions of the characters in the matter are as much a part of the nature of things as the Eruption of Mt. St. Helens and the death of my friend, one of my snow skiing companions from 1959, the year P.L. Blake graduated from high school in Mississippi.

My interest in this "blog" is not to cast aspersions, it is to get to know the people in the drama.

Now some who read these words might be thinking "there are bad guys in this drama." Perhaps so, but remember the line between good and evil exists in every soul of every person and at all times. Not one of us is exempt from the commands and forces of nature.

If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago [emphasis added].

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PL Blake and Insurance Blog

There is a wealth of information about PL Blake and his associations at this Rossmiller link.

PL Blake and Tom Anderson: Why?

One would like to know what the connection between PL Blake and Tom Anderson was all about. PL Blake seemed to be with his wife (Shirley F. Blake) firmly placed int Greenwood, MS. From there they operated PLB Grain Storage for a time and Dewitt Corporation. Their son Mark Blake who seems to have had a business called Mark Blake & Associates. From Greenwood PL Blake and Shirley F. Blake made political contributions. See, e.g. this.

Tom Anderson had been in Washington, D.C. working for Trent Lott. Senator Lott had been a very powerful senator. Anderson was there when Lott had his power.

Now the two, according to the Scruggs testimony in Luckey v. Scruggs are tied together in something called Developing Markets Group.

Obviously, Blake and Anderson came together at least for a time. Blake to do what needed to be done in Mississippi and the surrounding area? Anderson to do what needed to be done in Washington, D.C.?

And, now one must wonder why PL Blake and Steve Patterson are getting tobacco money payments when there is no word that Tom Anderson is getting any.

This is an interesting puzzle. And that is really what is of interest. How the puzzle goes together. The news that PL Blake is hiring lawyers is part of the puzzle.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who is Tom Anderson?

From the Luckey v. Scruggs transcript earlier reported on this site, the big money flowed from Scruggs and his operation to DMG. Scruggs said “I think that stands for Developing Markets Group or something to that effect.”

He went on to say when asked “Who are they?” “I think -- I may be wrong, but I think it's Mr. Blake, but it could be Tom Anderson. I just don't know as I sit here now. Maybe you can show me something that will refresh my memory. It's one of the two of them, I think. "

Mr. Merkel next asks

Q Let's look at it. It says (reading:)

::As we discussed earlier today, the new payment to DMG will be 468,450 each quarter, an increase of 218,450 per quarter. This is based on the increase in fees from the base of 1.57 to 2.95 billion or an 87 percent increase. I assume we will review and adjust the amounts in June of2001, when all of the awards hopefully are finally realized. It then goes on to say what he's going to do. He says he's going to catch DMG up to the level that he should be and then he'll increase the amount each quarter starting in the third quarter by $218,450. Now, DMG, at least at that time your office thought was P.L. Blake, didn't it?

A I don't know. I said either P.L. Blake or Tom Anderson, who's provided

Q Did you send checks to Mr. Blake care of DMG for a period of time?

A My guess is we sent them to DMG or P.L. Blake or Mr Anderson, whoever was the principal at DMG, would be my guess.

So who is Tom Anderson? He was a longtime aide to Senator Trent Lott. The New York Times in October 1989 reported:

The 43-year-old Mr. Anderson, whose family runs a retail clothing chain in the area, has been a behind-the-scenes factor in Mr. Lott's longtime dominance in
the area.

As administrative aide and executive assistant to Mr. Lott,Mr. Anderson not only helped shape the combative persona that propelled Mr. Lott to a position of leadership as the House minority whip and a national spokesman for conservative causes, but also directed the important constituent services aspect of Mr. Lott's eight terms as Representative. The Strong Hand of Lott From the beginning Mr. Lott has taken a strong hand in pushing Mr. Anderson's candidacy. When the seat became vacant, he was believed to have discouraged Mr. Smith's widow and a number of others from running.

That has cut both ways for Mr. Anderson. On the one hand it has convinced some people that he will have access to the White House, but on the other it has raised the specter of bossism. A recent editorial cartoon in The Jackson Clarion-Ledger depicted Mr. Lott and Mr. Bush meeting at the airport, with the President carrying his lap dog, Millie, and Mr. Lott carrying a lap dog labeled Tom Anderson.

New York Times October 16, 1989 .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Real Deal?

What Richard Scruggs and AG Jim Hood and others did with the claims against the tobacco companies is interesting and in a way, unusual. I must say, however, it is not really that unusual. One could see the genesis of the complaint, of the actions, in the asbestos litigation and the approach used in the asbestos litigation.

The "personal injury lawyer" is a dime a dozen. Ron Motley, the guy on the cutting edge of the asbestos cases, was nothing unusual. He was an entrepreneur -- in the field of personal injury law.

He was successful and we love success in the USA. Do we ever, we bend over backwards to advance THEIR causes, advance the causes of the gamblers, the great "Legal Eagles" -- how extraordinarily banal. And the causes, well, the "great causes"are really quite limited. And, when they are successful the "little guys" end up paying the damages, and, the attorney's fees and costs.

But things are worse than one might imagine. When have you ever heard of a PI lawyer taking a case with questionable liability, of questionable proximate cause? Let's be honest, the lawyers of the the great trial lawyers associations are good, mostly, at culling cases. The cases taken are those which have clear settlement value.

By the way, the lawyers on the other side were not much different in terms of opportunism. They were the apparatchiks of the "establishment." The exemplars of the Bernie Madoff style of success -- good name recognition, acceptance at the most prestigious country clubs, a likable, calm, confident. A pillar of success. The appearance of success.

The tobacco case and the various state AGs and their "retainers" in the case (I should not have said that, in the personal injury plaintiff's bar) were ready to be picked, plucked. To be culled into the "great case."

Washington state was no different than any other state -- Government Party AG (her name is Chris Gregoire) tied into the "big" litigation with "big" lawyers. Vanity law, one might call it.

And, were successful! So successful, every poor soul who smokes, and more and more poor souls who become smokers, and as they become poorer and poorer (the new effort of ruling class to make use of the poor while they say they are trying to help the poor), are now, and will be, paying for the damages and the attorneys' fees the tobacco companies have agreed to pay.

(We are all so content with our liberalism. So narcissistic we fail to realize the people whose causes we so vehemently champion are the ones who are paying for our "gosh we are so good liberalism," our "good politics.")

All thanks to PL Blake and his newspaper clipping services.

But let us face it, "we are a collection of fools, a covey of dissimulators. We are people who lie and who kid ourselves into thinking we are really good people. Good people because -- well, because "we care, and we on the right side." And we think we are making the rich suffer. And, we are too naive and self-satisfied to think, to know, the poor are paying for the satisfactions of our vanities.

It is all so complicated. But, the truth be told, there are bad people at work in all of this. And, I suspect the bad people who exist are also aligned with the good people we think exist.

Right now I am thinking PL Blake made his $50 million because of his Washington D.C. and Mississippi and the South political connections. PL Blake inherited something, he inherited a network of power. Who did he inherit it from? Maybe it was his own, but I have yet to know of a professional football player who had the talent to create a power network such as that which PL Blake must have been using. Something else is there, something to be found out.

PL Blake, Timing, Judicial Corruption

As an outside observer I have the impression there may have been over the years a milieu of judicial corruption where judges were, perhaps routinely, discussing the cases before them with others. Mississippi seems to have a rich tradition of "earwigging."

I wonder when PL Blake started to get large chunks of money from Richard Scruggs. In the early 1990's.

I wonder how much earwigging took place regarding the "tobacco litigation" which seemed to start for Scruggs and Hood and others in the early 1990's.

I wonder whether any earwigging regarding the tobacco cases was even necessary. Maybe there were no state cases. Of course, I think I know the answer to that. So I will dig for what I think I know.

Strange Stuff

Maybe learning about Billie Sol Estes would be worth it while we wait to learn more of PL Blake:

In 2003 Estes published JFK, the Last Standing Man (co-written with William Reymond) in France (Le Dernier Temoin). In the book Estes claims that Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in assassination of President John F. Kennedy. When interviewed by the American journalist, Pete Kendall, Estes said: “He (Johnson) told me if I wouldn’t talk, I would not go to jail.” Estes has had no contact with LBJ’s other long-ago associates, he said, since the book’s publication. “About all of them are dead, really. I think I’m about the last one standing.” That’s partly why, he said, he wasn’t interested in doing a book sooner. “I’ve been accused of being dumb,” he said, “but I’m not stupid.”
Billie Sol Estes: A Texas Legend

More Good Stuff from FOLO

Jerry Mitchell on Patterson (Mostly Blake).

When did the money start to flow?

Q And, Mr. Scruggs, you began in 1994 to loan P.L. Blake monthly amounts of money that started out at $15 thousand a month and escalated to $25 thousand a month. Actually, I guess the first one is November the 20th, 1993. Is that right?

A Sounds right.

From the transcript in Luckey v. Scruggs.

Pecos Enterprise: Billie Sol Estes

From the Pecos Enterprise one finds a wealth of information about Billie Sol Estes.

Some Bits about PL Blake from Folo

This post and its comments contain useful and interesting information and speculation about PL Blake.

The Plainview, Texas Elevator

I am told this elevator was built by Billie Sol Estes. I am also told it was owned by PL Blake and the Dewitt Company while PL was living in Greenville, MS. It sure is a beauty. I bet a picture or two at ground level would be even more impressive.

Monday, May 11, 2009

NMC, PL Blake, Lotus and the TRUTH

There is discussion in the ether as to why NMC has been employed by PL Blake. There is more discussion as to when this employment took place -- when he and PL Blake or Blake's representatives began discussing his employment as an attorney for PL Blake. In any event, his website has been compromised. Mr. Freeland's employment by PL Blake after, or during a month's worth of testimony by Richard Scruggs to a grand jury in Oxford, comes as a real surprise to us innocents out in the hustings. I suppose we all thought NMissCommenter was interested in laying out the truth of events. But now, we hear NMC can't say, will not say, anything about Scruggs I -- (that's the Judge Lackey "I am a Government Agent" bribery case. NMC is a cheerleader for Judge Lackey).

One does not know what to think -- well, except for this: Does Freeland's retainer say more about how someone like PL Blake works than it says about Freeland? One would suppose. Isn't money great! The truth be told the employment of Freeland by Blake says more about PL Blake than it says about Tom Freeland. (Who seems like a nice guy, except for his desire, his penchant, for cooking pigs.)

Where is Lotus? Where is the truth seeking and irreverence of Lotus? Where is this very special talent? Lotus, come back! Your friends and the TRUTH need you.

Send her an email at

This very unusual woman was able to do something quite unusual -- bring a good number of minds together in discussion. Her website was the cutting edge.

Luckey v. Scruggs: Some Scruggs testimony about PL Blake

Luckey v. Scruggs
JUNE 8, 2005
BEFORE: U.S. Magistrate Jerry A. Davis
TAKEN: June 6-1 7, 2005 LOCATION: Federal Building, Oxford, MS
A-P-P-E-A--R-A-N-C- E-S
MR. MERKEL: Let's look at Exhibit 795.
Q Now, Mr. Scruggs, this is a memo to you from Allen Jones. Who's Allen Jones?
A Allen Jones worked for my law firm in a capacity similar to what Mr. DeLoach did for a while. He took care of various accounting matters and things like that.
Q Now, who's DMG, Mr. Scruggs?
A I think that stands for Developing Markets Group or something to that effect.
Q Who are they?
A I think -- I may be wrong, but I think it's Mr. Blake, but it could be Tom Anderson. I just don't know as I sit here now. Maybe you can show me something that will refresh my memory. It's one of the two of them, I think.
Q Let's look at it. It says (reading:)
::As we discussed earlier today, the new payment to DMG will be 468,450 each quarter, an increase of 218,450 per quarter. This is based on the increase in fees from the base of 1.57 to 2.95 billion or an 87 percent increase. I assume we will review and adjust the amounts in June of2001, when all of the awards hopefully are finally realized.
It then goes on to say what he's going to do. He says he's going to catch DMG up to the level that he should be and then he'll increase the amount each quarter starting in the third quarter by $218,450. Now, DMG, at least at that time your office thought was P.L. Blake, didn't it?
A I don't know. I said either P.L. Blake or Tom Anderson, who's provided --
Q Did you send checks to Mr. Blake care of DMG for a period of time?
A My guess is we sent them to DMG or P.L. Blake or Mr Anderson, whoever was the principal at DMG, would be my guess.
Q And tell us what P.L. Blake did for $468 thousand a quarter through the year 2023 and $10 million on the front end, $50 million more or less?
A This was --- this litigation from the beginning was quite unorthodox in terms of meeting fire with fire. The tobacco industry had all sorts of resources, particularly political resources, and as I explained yesterday, it was as much a political war as it was a legal war. P.L. Blake lived in Greenwood, and I think hunts with you on a regular basis.
Q No, sir, he doesn't. I never hunted with P.L. Blake in my life, Mr. Scruggs, but whatever.
A He told me you shared a hunting cabin with him somewhere up north.
Q He paid for a pheasant hunt at the same place I paid for a pheasant hunt. I had never met him before. But that's kind of neither here nor there.
A But P.L. Blake was a sort of a political operative in terms of being involved in state and national political affairs. One of these guys that's sort of always behind the scenes, but has his ear to the ground. He was our sort of response from 1994 on, maybe even late '93, when we first started thinking about this, to what the tobacco industry was doing. They had a network that was far more extensive than that, and we wanted to be alerted to political attacks before they actually hit us in the nose. For example, Governor Fordice filing suit to shut the whole litigation down in '95 or '96. Things like that. We needed to know things like that before they happened so we could head them off, and Blake had a network throughout the state and really throughout the nation that would sort of give us that heads-up information.
Q Well, let's talk about your relationship with P.L. Blake, Mr. Scruggs. You represented him in bankruptcy at one point, did you not, sir?
A I think in the early '80s, yes.
Q And you were still representing him in that, in fact, in the late '80s, were you not?
A As long as the bankruptcy case was alive. Sometimes they take years.
Q And P.L. Blake was also indicted and ultimately pled guilty to some type of a federal bank fraud type of situation in the early '90s?
A It seems to me that he pleaded guilty to some sort misdemeanor involving a bank, yes.
Q And as a result of that he was ordered by a federal district court in the Southern district to make restitution for some several million dollars to the FDIC or something of that sort?
A Perhaps. I don't recall what he was required to do. I'm sure he had something imposed on him if he pleaded to a misdemeanor.
Q And so he had a restitution amount over him and he had had -- he was in bankruptcy in the late '80s?
A Perhaps, at various times. I don't know the timing of it, but both of those events happened.
Q And, Mr. Scruggs, you began in 1994 to loan P.L. Blake monthly amounts of money that started out at $15 thousand a month and escalated to $25 thousand a month. Actually, I guess the first one is November the 20th, 1993. Is that right?
A Sounds right.
Q What was the purpose of those loans that you were making to him?
A The purpose of the loans was to do exactly what I just described.
Q What is that?
A To --
Q Were they payments -- were they salary or payments you were making or were they loans, Mr. Scruggs? Which were they?
A They were loans.
Q Why did you make loans to a man who was in bankruptcy and who was coming out from under a criminal situation with a large restitution amount hanging over his head?
A I assume he needed the the money to make restitution,
Q Did he did he give you any collateral?
A Other than his enormous network of political connections in the state and otherwise, no, he didn't have any -- he didn't give me any collateral for it, no, but he did sign a note every month.
Q Signed a note with 8 percent interest on it that you were going to charge him on those notes; correct?
A I think so. Whatever the prevailing rate at the time was.
Q And by the time the tobacco settled and he got those first of those million dollar -- four million dollar, five million-dollar amounts, he had run up a loan account with you of some 900 -- between $950 thousand and a million dollars, hadn't he?
A It could have been that much with interest, which was deducted from whatever he got paid. He paid it back that way.
Q Tell us, if you would, Mr. Scruggs, other than the generalities of how well connected P.L. Blake was and this, that, and the other, anything specific P.L. Blake did to get $10 million up front and a percentage of tobacco fees calculated at $468,450 per quarter.
A I talked to P.L. Blake on a fairly routine basis throughout the process of this litigation about what might be going on in the legislature, what Fordice might be up to through people that he knew. He obviously didn't readily disclose his methods and sources, as the term is now used, but he knew the key people in the various congressional offices in 1996 when political resolution of this started looking promising and it was very helpful providing the names of who these people were and backgrounds on them.
Q With all deference, I mean $50 million seems to be, to me, to be a sizable sum. Can you tell us anything P.L. Blake specifically did? Any piece of information or intelligence that he delivered that was -- couldn't have been found by reading the newspapers and listening to the TV?
A I think I just did. You don't find out who's who in Washington or who's -- who the behind the scenes movers and shakers at the state capital are by reading the newspaper. You know who the committee chairs are and people like that, but what's really going on back there inside baseball, I don't think you can find that out, and he kept us routinely informed.
Q Tell me some routine intelligence he gave you. Give me the name of a senator or something that was fixing to do so and so. Just something specific, Mr. Scruggs.
A Well, he had a relationship with Senator Biden.
Q Did he bring you some intelligence from Senator Biden? Maybe he knew him, but did he bring you anything that Mr. Biden told him that you couldn't have found out otherwise?
A Well, I didn't know Senator Biden at the time.
Q Okay. Did he tell you something?
A I know him pretty well now, but I didn't know him at the time.
Q Well, actually you paid Senator Biden's brother a bunch of money, too, at the same period of time, didn't you?
A No, I paid Mr. Biden's brother's -- I think he was affiliated with a lobbying firm and it wasn't an enormous amount of money. We hired a lot of lobbyists on the hill at that time period of time.
Q Don't you think his brother could have been giving you whatever intelligence about his brother's thoughts probably better than P.L. Blake could?
A That would seem reasonable, but P.L. Blake's involvement and the intelligence that he was providing us preceded that involvement with Jim Biden by a long long time.
Q What intelligence were you ever provided, Mr. Scruggs? Can you give us one concrete example of some intelligence that came from Mr. P.L. Blake for $50 million?
A I can give you examples, I didn't make any notes of this. I didn't sit down and write it down.
Q These aren't the kinds of things that people write down or write letters about?
A He was very tuned in to the effort to unseat Attorney General Moore in 1995.
Q That wasn't very private information, was it, Mr. Scruggs? I thought Fordice was all over the papers and TV and everything else hollering about that daily?
A Well, we knew about it from P.L. Blake long before he actually did anything.
Q Let me show you, Mr. Scruggs, Exhibit 240. This is, I believe, 13 newspaper clippings that P.L. Blake provided at the time of his deposition which is what he said he provided to you. Did you get those newspaper clippings from him?
A If he said so, I did, but he certainly gave us far more than just what was in the newspaper. Why would I, out of my pocket, pay him that sort of money?
Q That's what I'm trying to find out, because that's basically what he said he did in his deposition. You read his deposition, haven't you, sir?
A No.
Q Never have?
A No, I have not. Never ever.
Q Okay.
A And I would understand why he would be reluctant to disclose his inside baseball political connections. I would understand that.
Q You think he would misrepresent things under oath, Mr. Scruggs? Is that what you're saying?
A I don't think he would.
Q Well, if he said he had never talked to any politician and he never talked to anybody at the tobacco industry and he simply listened and read newspapers over the state and gave you the information that's there, can you give us anything else he did concrete beyond that?
A I think I already have, I don't know how to answer that any better, sir.
THE COURT: This is another area we're not going to get agreement on.
Q I put 795 back up and direct your attention to the last line at the bottom to Mr. Jones, It says: I appreciate your getting me a copy of a handwritten agreement with Mr. Blake for the file when you get a chance.
Did you ever provide that handwritten agreement to Allen Jones?
A I don't recall whether I did or not.
Q We've never been provided it, is the reason I'm asking. Is there such an agreement, Mr. Scruggs, that apparently set out why you were going to calculate that exact amount up there based on the fees?
A If there is, I'm not aware of one. That doesn't mean there isn't one.
Q Let me show you another exhibit, Exhibit 787, September 29th, 2000. Again, to you from -- well, to the file with a carbon copy to you from Allen Jones, talks about DMG-Blake again. It says (reading:)
::The payments to Anderson Sears have segmented to the individual members as follows, with the responsibility for payment, in parentheses, DMG-Blake, base amount 250,000 per quarter as long as tobacco fees are collected from the industry, obligations of Ness-Motley, Scruggs Millette 60/40 split or 100,000 Ness and 100,000 Scruggs; 2000 has been paid added amount based on ratio of increase from Mississippi, Florida, Texas base to the total awards, calculation attached, and now added 218,450.
And at the top it he says in handwriting: Can I get a copy of the Blake agreement you mentioned for the file? Allen. Was there an agreement, Mr. Scruggs?
A I think it was more of a handshake agreement than anything else. I don't recall a written agreement with Mr. Blake.
Q Why did Mr, Jones think there was when he was writing all those letters?
A I told Mr. Jones that we had an understanding or agreement and perhaps he assumed that it was in writing. You'll have to ask him. He was brand new at that time and perhaps didn't quite understand how things had been working.
Q Seems he was making a fairly sophisticated complicated calculation based on all these tobacco fees to come up with Mr. Blake's 218,450 addition, Mr. Scruggs. How did he get the information to make that calculation?
A He got it based on what he says he got it on. It was an increase based on the Most Favored Nation clause to the fees that came in to all counsel, Ness-Motley, and the Scruggs firm and everybody else.
Q Did you have a written agreement with Mr. Blake to split the fees of the tobacco litigation, Mr. Scruggs?
A I don't think we did. I don't recall one.
Q Did you have a verbal one that you communicated to Mr. Jones enough to let him calculate that like he did?
A I told Mr. Jones at some point in time that Mr. Blake and I had an agreement as to how much he would be paid on a quarterly basis and when the fees were subsequently increased as a result of the Most Favored Nation clause, or for whatever reason, told Mr. Jones to increase it.
Q Are you aware that it's an ethical violation to split fees with a non-attorney?
A I didn't think that it was splitting fees, I think it was just paying Mr. Blake for the work he had done, which was quite considerable, most of which was coming out of my pocket.
Q When you calculated based on an increase in fees, that wasn't splitting fees?
A It didn't occur to me that it was, and I would take issue with that being unethical.
Q You do agree that the canons of ethics say it's improper for any attorney to share fees with another attorney other than is commensurate with their work?
A I'm generally familiar with Rule 1.5.
Q Yes, sir, that's the one,
A And Mr. Blake --
Q Is not an attorney?
A No, he did -- but that's not the question. You asked me about splitting fees with lawyers that don't do any work.
Q Yes, sir. That would be more like Mr. Nutt?
A It would be more like Mr. Luckey.
Q Did Mr. Nutt do 400 to $500 million worth of work on this case, Mr. Scruggs?
A Mr. Merkel, I guess we can argue again about it. We talked about it all afternoon yesterday about what Mr. Nutt did.

Billie Sol Estes

Let's get started on the trail of PL Blake -- Is Billie Sol Estes a place to start? Wikipdia And, here is some more Keep digging, it really gets good (if I remember right). Intrigue, conspiracy theories, LBJ, Orville Freemn (a Secretary of Arigculture) people mysteriously leaving the living. Spartacus, stuff,,

PL Blake as a Public Figure

Blake v. Gannet

Country Cooking

Mississippi is a most mysterious place. Catch this bit of musing

Note the first comment and who is mumpfing.

That P.L. Blake is going to be a hoot! $50 Million for clipping news stories? One must suppose that's plausible.

But not as plausible as the resurrection of Avalon, MS and Mississippi John Hurt.

Friday, May 8, 2009

P.L. Blake and the Tobacco Litigation? Guess Not.

Here is a short piece about P.L Blake's supposed entry in the public discussion about the Scruggs I matter. Anita Lee, Journalist. Of the Sun Herald. I note the piece says something to the effect that Mr. Blake is not being looked at regarding the "tobacco litigation." That's a little hard to believe. Just what did he do for the $50 million he is being paid? And, for some reason some of the fiction in John Grisham's The Appeal come to mind.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

P.L. Blake

The news out of Mississippi and Oxford is that P. L. Blake is hiring lawyers, several of them. The activity relates, supposedly, to Scruggs I, the Judge Henry Lackey alleged bribery. Remember Judge Lackey, the state judge who became a federal government agent. Oxford counsel for P.L. Blake is Tom Freeland a man who had very gushing things to say about Judge Lackey several months ago.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Judge DeLaughter and the Lott Telephone Call

Senator Lott made a phone call to Judge Bobby DeLaughter. He had heard Judge DeLaughter wanted to become a federal judge. Doesn't every state court trial judge want to become a federal judge -- the benefits and working conditions are really quite nice. Was the call some sort of quid pro quo to get Judge DeLaughter to rule in favor of the interests of Richard Scruggs? Pretty doubtful. Maybe it was a Scruggs effort to get his brother-in-law to flatter Judge DeLaughter, to soften him so that he would think favorably of Mr. Scruggs. This sort of stuff, I suspect, happens all the time in the world of politics and the politics of the judicial fraternities these days.

So, Judge DeLaughter took the call, maybe he was even flattered (one finds it hard to think one would be flattered by a call from Senator Lott, or any senator -- they are not people who are above us lumpen electorate), but not a bit of this causes suspicion as far as I am concerned.

One wonders whether the prosecutor is going to use this call by Senator Lott to play on the illusions of members of a jury panel. It's a game, you see.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

For a Light Hearted Update See This:

For a light hearted and breezy update on the Scruggs Events see The Fort Mill Times.

I still have trouble with Judge Henry Lackey. Seems to me judges should not serve as agents of the FBI. This is not said in defense of Mr. Scruggs and the cast of idiots who seemed to gravitate to him.