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Lafayette marshal's trial delayed; recall organizers take the st - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Lafayette marshal's trial delayed; recall organizers take the stand

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Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope arrives at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse for a hearing on Dec. 27, 2017, in Lafayette, La. LESLIE WESTBROOK/The Advocate Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope arrives at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse for a hearing on Dec. 27, 2017, in Lafayette, La. LESLIE WESTBROOK/The Advocate

Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope's trial has been delayed again.

Pope is awaiting a felony trial on counts of malfeasance and perjury, with the proceedings set to begin Tuesday. But Pope's attorneys, John McLindon and Brett Grayson, have filed a number of motions in recent weeks that remain unresolved.

They say they're still awaiting evidence and must issue subpoenas before they can move forward with the hearings, which will now happen on March 26.

Among the matters include a motion for change of venue, a motion to suppress Pope's emails and a motion to sever his indictment so that some of the charges are tried separately from one another.

Judge David Smith, the 15th Judicial District judge presiding over the case, set a March 13 deadline for any future filings. Upon request from the state, Smith also issued a gag order that prevents anyone with the defense or prosecution from speaking to the media.

Assistant District Attorney Alan Haney requested the gag order in effort to keep the trial in Lafayette Parish.

Pope's trial could now happen at the end of April.

Recall organizers take the stand

His attorneys on Tuesday also questioned the chair and co-chair of the unsuccessful effort to recall Pope.

McLindon and Grayson sought the list of voters who signed the petition. They claimed having the list would help them seat an impartial jury, but the recall organizers said they destroyed the list, fearing retaliation.

Grayson pointed out that the recall list is subject to public records law once the first signature is obtained. Destroying public records is a felony, he told her.

Recall chair Amber Gotcher-Robinson, who goes by Aimee, testified that no one told the recall committee that the document must be preserved.

She said the effort fell about 3,800 signatures short of the roughly 27,500 needed before Pope would be placed up for a recall election. State workers told her she did not have to submit the petition to the state because it failed, she said.

Gotcher-Robinson said she destroyed the list the same day she announced the effort failed, which is the same day Pope's deputies arrested her co-chair, Steven Wilkerson, on a 20-year-old misdemeanor warrant for which the statute of limitations had expired.

"I feared retaliation from the marshal, and that is the blatant truth," Gotcher-Robinson said.

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