After less than five hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope on four out of the seven charges he faced.
Pope was found guilty on one count of perjury and three counts of malfeasance in office, stemming from a public records dispute with The Independent.
Hand-in-hand with his wife, Pope, now a convicted felon, had no comment Wednesday night.
Disappointed with the verdict, his attorneys are planning to appeal.
“While I’m very disappointed, I feel very good about our chances on appeal,” said defense attorney John McLindon.
Assistant District Attorney Alan Haney said the D.A.’s Office is fulfilling a promise with this case. Haney acknowledges prosecuting a public official is never easy.
“We promised we were going to look at public integrity and we were going to take on these tough crimes and do this,” said Haney.
The State made this case about Pope honoring his oath of office. Their main witness was Gary McGoffin, attorney for The Independent. McGoffin recorded Pope’s 2015 deposition where he was accused of perjury.
“The jury was very attentive,” McGoffin said. “I have confidence in our system.”
The pre-sentencing investigation will take up to 90 days. Once it is complete, Judge David Smith will sentence Pope.
Now that Pope has been convicted, what’s next for him and the City Marshal’s Office?
According to State law, convicted felons shall be removed from office. Pope is immediately suspended without pay, and that suspension will remain in effect during the appeals process. Governor Edwards will appoint someone to serve as interim city marshal. If Pope’s conviction is overturned, Pope would be entitled to back pay, covering the time of his suspension.
This isn’t the end of the City Marshal’s legal troubles.
Last month, a grand jury indicted him on seven additional counts of malfeasance in office. Pope is accused of supplementing his income, with more than $13,000 in fees, despite an Attorney General’s opinion saying that money could only be used for office expenses.