Richard Scruggs, Miami-Dade's Top Corruption Fighter, Got Served

assistant state attorney richard scruggs.jpg
Richard Scruggs has lost his mojo.
At least Richard Scruggs can always say he was the guy who got Yahweh Ben Yahweh, the notorious religious sect leader who was convicted of committing 14 murders, two attempted homicides, and a terrorist firebombing in 1992.

But right now, the veteran prosecutor has lost his shine. While trying to prove -- unsuccessfully -- that Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones solicited a bribe in one public corruption case and committed grand theft in another probe, Scruggs has been accused of improper behavior by witnesses, opposing counsel, and a judge.

During the trial of Spence-Jones's pastor, Rev. Gaston Smith, Judge Beatrice Butchko admonished Scruggs after he admitted under oath that he withheld key information from Smith's defense attorney; he also failed to provide public documents requested by a New Times staff writer.

The assistant state attorney failed to immediately disclose that a police detective had secretly recorded investigative interviews with Smith before the pastor was arrested. Butchko called Scruggs's actions "very unprofessional."

Jeb Bush's best pal, Armando Codina, the main witness in the bribery case against Spence-Jones, claimed in a deposition that Scruggs suckered him into believing she stole $25,000 he and one of his business partners (not Jeb) had donated at her request for a gala honoring Barbara Carey-Shuler. Scruggs alleged Spence-Jones solicited the money from the real estate developers in exchange for her vote on the renaming of a street.

When he took the stand at the trial, Codina claimed he "was purposely misled" by Scruggs, who was described as the "greatest ass kicker of all time" when he was named Best Lawyer by Miami New Times in 2005. The real estate developer also emphatically denied Spence-Jones shook him down, which helped convince a jury to acquit her.

Scruggs's other star witness, Carey-Shuler, also turned on him when she recanted her initial sworn statement that led to Spence-Jones's first arrest for allegedly stealing $50,000 in county funds. Carey-Shuler changed her tune after seeing drafts of a letter containing her handwriting on her commission letterhead. Scruggs had claimed Spence-Jones forged it.

The former county commissioner's about-face and the pieces of paper bearing her handwriting essentially derailed Scruggs's case, forcing him to drop it. His close-out memo makes him seem pretty sore about losing.

He accuses Spence-Jones and her lawyer, Peter Raben, of planting the "smoking gun" evidence that exonerated her. When he first inventoried the documents in 2009, Scruggs claimed Carey-Shuler's office file referencing the $50,000 was empty except for the final letter with the county commissioner's stamped signature.

When Spence-Jones and Raben reviewed the same file a year later, Scruggs alleges her lawyer -- citing attorney-client privilege -- demanded that the custodian for Carey-Shuler's county records leave the room while they rifled through the documents.

Scruggs wrote, "A short while later, the two drafts... along with other documents... surfaced in the previously empty file." Talk about petty.

He should focus more on regaining his top form before he pursues his next public corruption target.

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13 comments
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Dariengia
Dariengia

Scruggs, what type of life force to you have living inside your belly?

jmhpro
jmhpro

Those keep citing the 50K aren't capable obviously of research and thinking.  50k went to rehab a building.  The building was rehabbed.  There isn't an ounce of proof on any level that Spence Jones is a crook.  Anyone saying that is a moron and probably supports idiots like Sarah Palin who just makes it up as she goes along.  Spence Jones beat the corrupt prosecutor and his boss.  Watch what happens next.  

DirtDogs
DirtDogs

Congrats Miami, you continue to F yourself over by letting criminals like Spence-Jones run the show.

Just criminals..,
Just criminals..,

Nobody around Spence is a "good guy".

Thugs like Barbara Hardemon?Convicted criminals like Koreles Alexander?

They are just walking around until their next arrests.

Rookie mistake
Rookie mistake

Letting a defendant like Spence-Jones and her sleazy lawyer be alone with evidence boxes is a rookie mistake. Scruggs got played.

Unfortunately, the taxpayers get screwed every step of the disgusting process. Now the criminal returns to steal more money?

P_Nis
P_Nis

Peter Raben is one of the good guys, definitely not "sleazy"!

nevernot
nevernot

Do you have proof that this occurred or are you just taking the word of a wanted criminal in Costa Rica who was completely bitch-slapped by the judge and will likely be brought up on prosecutorial misconduct charges? Look in to his records and the people pushing for Spence-Jones prosecution, the real criminals never saw their day in court.

Once a criminal
Once a criminal

Spence-Jones will keep committing crimes. She will continue to steal money. She will continue to abuse her position.

She will be under permanent investigation. Unfortunately, Investigators cannot record her 24/7.

nevernot
nevernot

 Despite the fact that the article above and a court of law states clearly that she did NOT steal money why on earth are you libeling her? If you have proof of your accusations file a complaint. If you are just feeling hurt and threatened that Regalado and Sarnoff's best efforts to stack the commission in their favor then be prepared for a libel suit. She was found innocent and the prosecutor will likely be brought up on charges before he flips on his puppet masters, get used to it.

Justice.is.served
Justice.is.served

This man should be disbarred for his actions.  I am confident they have not gone unnoticed.  The depth of his need to win has caused him to aside his duty to the law and to justice.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Frank, let's not forget that Scruggs is wanted by the Costa Rican government! This man should be disbarred and thrown in jail.

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