A jury has been chosen for Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope’s perjury and malfeasance trial; two alternates will be selected tomorrow.
After about a day and a half of questioning of potential jurors, the 12 regular jurors were finalized a few minutes before 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Twelve regular jurors were seated today. Tomorrow, two alternates, who will listen to all the evidence and stand ready to step in should any regular juror have to withdraw, will be seated.
Pope’s trial on two counts of perjury and five counts of malfeasance comes less than two weeks after a grand jury handed up another seven-felony indictment against him on allegations he illegally took more than $13,000 meant for his public office.
The payments laid out in Pope’s most recent indictment line up with garnishment fee payouts Pope’s received this year since January, when an Attorney General opinion stated that the marshal should not use the garnishment fees his office collects to supplement his income.
If convicted of any of the felonies, state law requires that Pope be removed from his elected position. But that penalty would only take effect once he’s exhausted all of his appeal options.
Each count of perjury is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and up to five years hard labor.
Malfeasance in office is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000; a sentence of up to five years in prison, with or without hard labor; and restitution to the state “if the state suffered a loss as a result of the offense.”
The law further provides that if Pope is convicted of malfeasance, he would lose certification from the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, or P.O.S.T. certification.
Pope’s first term in office expires at the end of 2020.