FBI, Department of Justice seen at Lafayette Parish courthouse Monday evening




  • In US
  • 2022-05-10 16:42:23Z
  • By The Daily Advertiser
 

The FBI and Department of Justice were seen at the Lafayette Parish courthouse Monday night.

The agencies arrived at the courthouse at about 5 p.m. and were seen coming and going from the courthouse in downtown on Buchanan Street.

Two people were seen carrying pizza boxes and cases of water inside. Reports also indicate the agencies left with cases.

Calls to District Attorney Don Landry and a Department of Justice representative have not yet been returned.

A spokesperson with the FBI New Orleans office said in an email, "per DOJ policy, the FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation."

It's unclear why the agencies were at the courthouse but it comes seven years after five people were sentenced for their roles in a bribery scheme at the district attorney's office.

Five people - a longtime secretary for then-District Attorney Mike Harson, a former assistant district attorney, a former employee of the district attorney's office and two former employees of Acadiana Outreach - pleaded guilty to working with former private investigator and scheme mastermind Robert Williamson, who was not licensed to practice law, to move cases through the legal system.

Williamson pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy, bribery and Social Security fraud.

Bribery scheme: Who was involved in the investigation?

The secretary accepted bribes from Williamson in return for helping obtain a favorable resolution of criminal cases from 2008 to 2012, most of which were drunken driving cases. The secretary said Harson was not aware of the scheme.

Employees with Acadiana Outreach helped falsify certificates saying clients had completed court-ordered community service work when they had not.

Harson was not identified as a target of the investigation, but federal prosecutors wrote in court filings that the scheme was carried out without Harson's knowledge because of a "lack of oversight and safeguards."

Background: Recording raises more questions about DA bribery scheme

The FBI raided the district attorney's office in early 2012 and confiscated files as part of an investigation into the bribery scheme to fix drunken driving charges.

An internal investigation into allegations of forged documents, which were part of the bribery scheme, was completed by Keith Stutes. Stutes retired from the office shortly after and ran against Harson in 2014 and won the district attorney seat.

When Stutes was elected, he did not retain Don Landry, who had worked as an assistant district attorney for 34 years. Landry ran against Stutes' first assistant district attorney in 2020 and won the election.

More: Incoming Lafayette Parish district attorney Don Landry sets sights on clearing case backlog

Contact Ashley White at adwhite@theadvertiser.com or on Twitter @AshleyyDi.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: What were the FBI and DOJ doing at Lafayette Parish courthouse?

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