Two St. Landry Parish School Board members recently asked a judge to dismiss the federal bribery charges against them, arguing that the case did not belong in federal court. The judge rebuffed that request, however, meaning their trial will proceed as planned.
The two former school board members are accused of seeking $5,000 each from a candidate for superintendent for St. Landry Parish School District. Allegedly, the two had said they would vote for the candidate to get the superintendent job if he gave them the money, and would then vote to increase his salary by an amount that would offset the cost of the bribe.
The two board members argued that the case did not belong in federal court, which is the court that handles violations of federal laws, disputes between citizens of other states and issues that touch on federal resources, agencies or other institutions.
Essentially, the board members said there was no federal issue, meaning an issue that would properly put the dispute in federal, rather than state, court. Prosecutors disagreed, saying that as school board members, the two men were responsible for the allocation of federal education money.
The prosecutors' argument was good enough for the judge, who ruled in their favor.
Ever since formal charges were filed, the two men have resolutely maintained their innocence. They both continue to serve on the school board, and both remain eligible to vote for the next superintendent. They have both said they will not abstain from casting their votes on the issue.
Source: The Advocate, "Bribery case to move on," Richard Burgess, Feb. 3, 2013
- In our Lafayette office, we often work with people who have been accused of white collar crimes. For more information, we invite you to visit our White Collar Crime page.