LAFAYETTE, La. (KATC) — Suspended City Marshal Brian Pope, convicted of four felony charges and facing two more felony indictments as well as state ethics charges, posted a statement on Facebook today that he says breaks his silence.
In it, he expresses dismay regarding the cost of a legal defense, and claims that his name will soon be cleared. He says he’s confident he will soon be back in office as marshal. Several members of Pope’s family, including his wife, have “liked” or “loved” the post.
Pope is awaiting sentencing on a felony conviction; a judge agreed to delay that sentencing until June after Pope’s attorneys asked for more time. He has another felony indictment pending, and a third on which he is set to be arraigned later this spring. He also faces charges filed against him by the state ethics board.
Court records indicate Pope has no attorney for the two most recent indictments; his attorney in the first case filed a motion to withdraw, saying he had never been retained, or contracted, by Pope to represent him in the other case. That motion was granted, and no other attorney has filed any documents or been served any notice in the case. No attorney has filed any documents or been served notices in the third case, either.
Here’s the statement in full, followed by the actual post:
Breaking My Silence
As some of you may know, I’ve been fighting accusations of wrongdoing by some of my political opponents. As a longtime member of law enforcement who trusts our judicial system, I’ve always felt confident that justice would eventually prevail and so I’ve remained silent throughout this process.
With the courts most recent decision to postpone so that it can give full consideration to my motion of acquittal, it appears more likely that my name will soon finally be cleared once and for all.
I know that when I am reinstated as city Marshal I will return with a renewed sense of duty. Throughout this ordeal, one startling thought that l can’t seem to shake is, if they can do this to me, someone familiar with the justice system, a decorated member of law enforcement, an elected city marshal, then what can they do to the average person?
If I was a single mother, how could I prioritize spending tens of thousands of dollars fighting wrongful allegations over feeding my children?
If I was a business owner how could I prioritize paying my legal bills over paying my employees?
I have not and will not accept a plea deal for a crime I haven’t committed, but I can now more clearly understand how someone in a similar position could be wrongfully convicted or accept responsibility for a crime they didn’t commit. I’ve been placed on unpaid leave and have mounting legal bills. While many of the trumped up charges against me have been dropped, others are taking longer to resolve. I’m committed to seeing this through to the end. Right now my sole focus is seeking justice and returning to serve my community as city Marshal.
In closing, I’d like to thank all of you who have continued to hold my family and I in your prayers. I can assure you, they are working.
The most recent indictment against Pope was handed up in late March. In it, he’s accused of twice using Marshal funds to pay for a conference, then taking reimbursement sent by the city and depositing it into his personal bank accounts. Those two counts of malfeasance in office are felonies. He’s set to be arraigned on those charges next month.
Pope’s claim that “most” charges have been dropped is not entirely accurate. It is true that, during his felony trial, the jury found him not guilty on three of the seven charges against him. However, those are the only charges that he’s no longer facing. Twice the grand jury handed up superseding indictments against him. In both cases, additional charges were added to the original charges, and the original indictment was dismissed. Although the original indictment was dismissed, in both cases all the charges in the original indictment were included in the superseding indictment – meaning he still faces those original charges. In other words, two indictments were dismissed – but none of the charges in them were dismissed. They were simply added to another indictment which superseded, or replaced, the first indictment.
The investigation against Pope originally stemmed from a civil dispute with The Independent, a weekly newspaper that had filed public records requests regarding a press conference Pope had during a campaign for Lafayette Sheriff. Pope denied having some records, which Lafayette City-Parish Government produced when an identical request was made by the newspaper. During that civil dispute, the judge overseeing the case at least once requested that the District Attorney review the proceedings. That judge also found Pope in contempt of court, and he has lost all appeals filed of that conviction.
To read our coverage of Pope’s myriad cases, check out our archive page here.