(The Daily Advertiser) – Embattled Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday with five counts of malfeasance in office and two counts of perjury.
The Lafayette Parish grand jury issued a superseding indictment Wednesday that charged Pope with five counts of malfeasance in office and two counts of perjury.
Wednesday’s indictment replaces an August indictment charging Pope with three counts of misuse of public funds and two counts of perjury.
District Attorney Keith Stutes explained that, instead of charging Pope with misuse of public funds, he will be charged with three counts of malfeasance in office. Two additional malfeasance in office charges were added Wednesday by the grand jury, and the two perjury charges were carried over.
Stutes was unable to elaborate but said all seven charges stem from a similar issue or issues.
“It’s not unusual that, in an ongoing investigation, additional information is presented to a grand jury,” Stutes said.
Judge Laurie Hulin set bond Wednesday at $5,000 per count and ordered Pope not to leave the jurisdiction of the court.
The previous charges are related to Pope’s use of his public office to campaign for Chad Leger, who was running for Lafayette Parish Sheriff against Mark Garber, the eventual winner.
Pope is charged in two counts of malfeasance of using personnel in the City Marshal’s Office to prepare a fundraising mailout for his personal campaign.
Another malfeasance charge stems from using his office to urge voters to support Leger. On Oct. 7, flanked by four of his deputy marshals in uniform, Pope held a news conference in which he accused Garber, citing a Honduran television interview, of encouraging illegal immigrants to come to the United States to file worker’s compensation claims.
The Independent news organization took Pope to court after the city marshal refused to produce email records they believed would prove Pope conspired with the Leger campaign to defeat Garber. One perjury charges are from a Dec. 28, 2015, sworn deposition in which Pope denied authorizing the use of his government email account for a third-party mass distribution email service that benefited Leger’s campaign.
The second perjury charge also comes from the Dec. 28 deposition, when Pope allegedly denied being provided services by Hilary “Joe” Castille of the Leger campaign.
On Nov. 16, Pope reported to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center because he was sentenced to serve 7 days on a contempt of court charge for not relinquishing his emails to The Independent. He was immediately released and used a monitoring device to serve his 7 days.
Pope was elected in December of 2014 and took office in January of 2015.