An Iberia Parish jury has found Iberia Parish Clerk of Court Michael Thibodeaux guilty on all 14 counts against him.
The jury was in deliberation for nearly two and half hours before delivering the verdict Tuesday evening before 16th Judicial District Judge Lewis Pitman.
Thibodeaux’s charges include: one count of racketeering; two counts of theft of more than $25,000; one count of theft between $5,000 – $25,000; two counts of filing or maintaining false public records; seven counts of malfeasance in office and one count perjury.
Thibodeaux remained calm while the 14 guilty counts were read aloud, but in the packed audience row behind him his friends and family were emotional and clearly upset at the verdict. As Thibodeaux exited the courtroom, he was greeted by hugs and handshakes from the many supporters that had remained for the outcome.
The judge released Thibodeaux from his arrest bond stating that he had complied with the requirements he had established for it. However, he did place Thibodeaux under a conviction bond of $200,000 that must be in place by Friday morning. As a condition of that bond, Thibodeaux must also surrender his passport to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
KATC spoke with Thibodeaux’s lead defense attorney, John McLindon, after the verdict had been read.
“We’re devastated,” said McLindon. “I’ve preserved a lot of good issues for appeal, but we’re just crushed right now.”
The prosecution was unavailable for comment.
Thibodeaux, who has been the Iberia Parish Clerk of Court since 1997, wasindicted last summer on those counts.
The case stems from his alleged theft of advance court costs that were either due back to people who filed in court or to the state as unclaimed property. The alleged crimes happened during various spans of time from 1998 until July 2017, according to the indictment.
Thibodeaux will return to court on June 21 to receive his sentencing.
To read our stories about the trial, click here and here. To read about the indictment, click here.