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New Orleans, La. -- After months of maintaining his innocence, former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard will plead guilty to two federal charges Tuesday. That's according to his attorney, Robert Jenkins.
Word that Broussard would enter guilty pleas came on the same day that former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson stood before a judge and accepted guilt in the case.
"We'll have a statement tomorrow. We have some other concerns we have to deal with right now," said Jenkins as he and Broussard left the courthouse Monday morning.
Jenkins informed the judge that Broussard would accept a plea agreement from federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of theft.
"I'm not surprised honestly," said Loyola law professor Majeeda Snead.
Broussard had been set to go on trial on November 5, along with Wilkinson, But recently Wilkinson agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit misprision of a felony. Basically, that is when someone knows about criminal activity, but does not report it.
Broussard's deal whittles down the charges against him significantly. "I'm sure that this has been a long negotiated process," Snead said.
She said his decision to cooperate with prosecutors may help him during sentencing. "Not forcing the government to go to trial, he will get credit for taking responsibility for his action. So in addition to the counts themselves, he also gets credit for accepting responsibility," continued Snead.
Both Broussard and Wilkinson were hit with a 27-count indictment. Federal prosecutors accused them of fraudulently giving a well-paying paralegal supervisory job in parish government to Broussard's fiancee at the time, Karen Parker, even though she was not qualified for the post. Parker and Broussard later married, but then divorced.
Shortly after Broussard left the court, Wilkinson pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to commit misprision of a felony count. In court, Wilkinson detailed the scheme to get Parker the higher salaried job.
Wilkinson was not the first to cut a deal with the feds in this case. Karen Parker also struck a deal with the federal government in January. She pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony.
"He was powerful. However, I think the message is clear that when the government goes after people they look at the entire group, so once the dominoes start falling they continue to fall," Professor Snead said.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
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