Lafayette

Jan 17, 2013 12:39 PM by AP

2 more charged in court bribery investigation

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged two more people in an ongoing investigation of bribes for favorable treatment in the Lafayette court system, including an assistant district attorney.

According to court filings, Greg Williams, an assistant district attorney in the 15th Judicial District Attorney's office, faces one count of conspiracy.

Prosecutors have also charged Denease Curry with one count of misprision of a felony for allegedly not reporting the bribery scheme when she had knowledge of it, though it was unclear Thursday for whom she worked.

The Advocate reports the charges come after District Attorney Mike Harson's longtime secretary and office administrator, Barna D. Haynes, pleaded guilty Monday to accepting at least $55,000 in bribes to help criminal defendants get favorable treatment, mainly in DWI cases.

Prosecutors wrote in court filings that the bribery scheme went on for about four years without Harson's knowledge, in part because of a "lack of oversight and safeguards."

All of the deals arranged by Haynes were approved by a judge in special court sessions handled by the same assistant district attorney in Harson's office, federal prosecutors have said.

Prosecutors did not identify that staff member, but Williams is the only assistant district attorney who has been charged thus far in the case.

The person who allegedly paid the bribes has been identified by federal prosecutors only as "co-conspirator No. 1." U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley declined to say earlier this week whether that person is cooperating in the case.

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