-- Mikal Watts is regarded as a Democratic kingmaker and wealthy Texas trial lawyer who even hosted a private $35,000-a-plate fundraiser for President Obama at his home.
Watts appeared in federal court Thursday in Mississippi along with his brother, David who is also charged.
Both men, along with five others, allegedly used stolen and false identities of people to sign up as plaintiffs in their case against BP, eventually claiming to represent more than 40,000 individuals making claims against BP valued in excess of $2 billion.
The indictment alleges that among the bogus clients Watts signed up were four dead people and a boat deckhand named "Lucy Lu," who the government says is actually a dog.
According to court papers, in one e-mail about changing data related to 2,000 Social Security numbers and dates of birth, Mikal Watts’ brother, David wrote, “This does not pass the smell test??????”
A lawyer only identified as “Attorney 2” allegedly reached out to Watts to try to tell him his plans might be running into trouble.
According to the indictment, the attorney said, “Mikal, you know I say this with love in my heart so hear me on this, this is either a super secret plan for a billion dollar success that I just don’t see… [or] it is a ‘king has no clothes’ cluster f___ that needs to be dealt with, openly, quickly and effectively.”
After BP agreed to a massive multi-billion dollar settlement, Watts allegedly wrote an email stating, “there is a special limited fund of $2.3 billion to cover all the claims. Importantly, BP pays the $2.3 whether the proof supports it or not. It does not...”
Watts’ attorney Robert McDuff said in a statement his client took steps to prevent fraud and is “not guilty of the crimes of which he is accused.”