LAFAYETTE, La. — Attorneys for Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope are asking a judge to move his trial to another location.
Attorneys Brett Grayson and John McLindon on Monday filed a motion for change of venue in Pope’s felony case. They say the allegations against Pope have gotten too much publicity to seat an impartial jury.
That publicity has included an unsuccessful recall petition. At least one of the recall organizers has been subpoenaed to appear on the Feb. 20 trial date, as Pope’s attorneys seek the list of people who signed the petition. They say that will help them seat an impartial jury.
The organizers say that list has long been destroyed, as they feared retaliation against the voters who declared they wanted Pope removed from office. Just as the petition failed, Pope’s deputies arrested one of the organizers on a 20-year-old warrant for less than $200 in bad checks.
Pope’s attorneys on Monday also filed a motion to quash his indictment or to sever some of the charges from one another.
Pope faces five counts of malfeasance and two counts of perjury on allegations he misused his public office for political purposes and lied about those actions while under oath.
Pope’s attorneys contend that the perjury charges should be separated, and the malfeasance charges should each be tried separately.
In the motion, they say the charges “are not connected factually or part of a single transaction or scheme, are not readily distinguishable from each other, and will not be presented to the jury in a simple orderly manner,” and as such, “the tendency of ‘spill over’ prejudice to Marshal Pope is probable.”
Pope is set for trial on Feb. 20.