Covering Louisiana

May 1, 2013 1:50 PM by AP(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

Federal court hears ex-La. lawmaker's appeal

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lawyer for a former Louisiana lawmaker convicted of plotting to loot more than $1 million from taxpayer-funded charities has asked a federal appeals court to throw out her racketeering conspiracy conviction.

Former state Rep. Renee Gill Pratt's attorney, Michael Fawer, on Wednesday told a panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his client's retrial was a "mockery" due to alleged flaws in the jury selection process.

A federal prosecutor said there was a "significant effort" to ensure an impartial jury was picked to hear Gill Pratt's case.

The panel didn't immediately rule.

Gill Pratt was sentenced to more than seven years in prison following her 2011 conviction for conspiring with relatives of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson to pocket money earmarked for charitable and educational programs.

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