Former JP President Aaron Broussard gets 46 months in jail
Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard will serve almost four years in prison on federal corruption charges. Broussard is also ordered to pay $214,000 in restitution to the parish and forfeit another $280,000.
Broussard says he takes full responsibility for his actions. "I apologize for disgracing my office," Broussard said after receiving his sentence Monday. "I apologize for disgracing the government I served. The people that elected me, trusted me to do my best and not my worst."
In September, Broussard once the most powerful man in Jefferson Parish, pled guilty to creating a paralegal supervisor position for his then wife, Karen Parker in Jefferson Parish. Parker wasn't qualified for the job.
Broussard pleaded guilty to giving salary increases to people in parish government, such as former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson, who helped him create the paralegal position and keep Parker on the payroll. He also admitted to accepting bribes from a businessman in exchange for parish work.
Broussard originally faced 58 to 72 months behind bars, but U.S. District Judge Hayden Head reduced the sentencing guidelines and only ended up giving Broussard 46 months. In court, Judge Head, brought in from Texas, disagreed with prosecutors on how some of the charges were counted, thus deciding to change the sentencing guidelines.
It was a decision that pleased Broussard and his attorney, Robert Jenkins. "We're quite happy with the sentence. We found numerous objections in the case and the judge reviewed those and apparently they had merit because the guideline range was twice the sentence so we're quite pleased," Jenkins said.
Parker and Wilkinson were also sentenced Monday. They both previously pled guilty to misprision of a felony and each received three years probation for their roles in the scheme.
Broussard, who is currently receiving treatment for skin cancer, was the only one to get jail time. But he says he's not bitter and is now looking to move forward with his life.
"From prison, ironically, my future begins by walking through the prison doors. And that's when I can begin to reinvent myself and then come out of prison and then find what use I can be for society and for others," Broussard said.
The former parish president asked to serve his sentence at a prison in Pensacola so he can be closer to his elderly mother. Judge Head didn't have an objection to that request. Broussard must report to prison on April 8.