Hours after plea, St. Tammany coroner emerges from federal court - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Hours after plea, St. Tammany coroner emerges from federal court

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NEW ORLEANS - Long after federal court closed for the day and more than five hours after appearing before a magistrate, outgoing St. Tammany Coroner Peter Galvan finally emerged from the federal building at around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Galvan didn't speak as he got into a waiting car and was whisked away.

Earlier, in court, he pleaded not guilty to numerous corruption charges, although it's expected he'll eventually enter a guilty plea as part of a deal with prosecutors.

"At some point in time he's got to get before Judge Morgan, who is a federal district court judge, to most likely take a plea and ultimately, she'll be the one who will be doing the sentencing," said Fox 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.

Galvan is accused of payroll fraud and theft of public funds.

Some concerned St. Tammany residents were on hand Wednesday as Galvan made his appearance.

"It's time to send a warning to the individuals that feel like they can just do whatever they want to do because they have the power and the position," said Slidell resident Belinda Parker Brown.

As he faces the charges, Galvan is putting his Slidell home on the market.

The five-bedroom home in the Turtle Creek Subdivision is listed for sale with an asking price of nearly $430,000.

The outgoing coroner is expected to cooperate against two other witnesses listed in the federal bill of information.

"It would appear that Mr. Galvan is the top of the food chain here, but that doesn't mean that he can't do something for himself towards his sentence," Raspanti said.

If convicted, Galvan could face a sentence of up to five years and a fine of $250,000.

St. Tammany Parish officials said he must resign by Friday.

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