Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope released from house arrest

1:39 PM, Nov 23, 2016

Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope has completed his house arrest sentence.

Pope completed the sentence without issue and had his GPS monitoring device removed about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, about a day shy of serving the full seven-day sentence, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s spokesperson John Mowell said Wednesday afternoon.

The first-term marshal’s penalty penalty stemmed from a misdemeanor contempt of court conviction in The Independent’s public records lawsuit against him.

In a sentence upheld by the state’s highest court, 15th Judicial District Judge Jules Edwards earlier this year found Pope disobeyed a court order to provide certain emails the news organization sought from the marshal’s official email account.

Although Pope ultimately provided a trove of emails following a court order, dozens of relevant records had been erased from Pope’s computer and account and retrieved only through Lafayette Consolidated Government’s backup servers.

The deleted emails showed Pope colluded with Scott Police Chief Chad Leger’s unsuccessful campaign for sheriff in planning a press conference attacking Sheriff Mark Garber, then a candidate in the race. Pope had denied his involvement with the campaign.

Edwards sentenced Pope to a 30-day jail sentence, with all but seven of those days suspended and to be served on house arrest.

Pope has also been sentenced to almost 200 hours of community service teaching public records law and will have his two-year probation term to complete the work, his attorney, Kevin Stockstill, said Wednesday.

Along with the five felony charges on perjury and misuse of public funds that Pope now faces in the matter, he also owes nearly $100,000 in attorney fees, court costs and penalties in the lawsuit.

His legal defense bills in the lawsuit have also mounted.

Pope had been billed about $150,000 by mid-October, when KATC last received copies of those records.

Those invoices have been paid by the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, which maintains an annual budget of less than $2 million.

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