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Attorney under indictment expects dismissal soon

Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-12 23:42:37-04

Lafayette attorney Charles Middleton, who was indicted for perjury in connection with the Brian Pope case, says he expects to have that indictment dismissed any day.

"They don't have any evidence, the whole charge against me was bogus. If they had any evidence, they would have taken me to trial, right?" Middleton said Sunday. "Now my case is with the Attorney General's office and I'm waiting for a dismissal any day. And after that, then, I'm going to have my own cause of action that I'm going to be asserting in the courts for what they did to me."

Middleton said he's physically strong and mentally strong and this "only emboldens me and makes me stronger." He said he's a Christian and he knows he has to suffer, that's part of being a Christian. He says he believes its something he has to go through "to become a better person."

Court records show that Middleton's attorney, Kirk Piccone, filed a motion to recuse the District Attorney's Office from the case, which was granted in May. Piccone based that argument on the fact that the District Attorney at the time, Keith Stutes, as well as the prosecutor in Middleton's case, Alan Haney, both questioned Middleton during the grand jury hearing in which the alleged perjury took place. That makes them material witnesses - and they can't be the prosecutor and the witness. The court agreed, and assigned the case to the Attorney General's Office.

Middleton was former Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope's at one time, and was indicted in December 2016 on one count of perjury, accused of lying while testifying before a grand jury in August 2016.

Prosecutors accused Middleton of lying about the identity of someone that is referred to only as "Redmond" in legal documents for which he billed the city marshal's office while working for Pope. This all started in 2015, when Pope held a press conference aimed at Sheriff Mark Garber, who then was running for the seat. The Independent, a local weekly newspaper, and its reporter, Christaan Mader, made public records requests about it and sued Pope after, the paper alleges, he tried to hide public documents. To see the timeline and read the background, click here.

Mader now is editor of The Current. To read some of his reporting on this case, click here.

Pope was removed from the City Marshal position after he was indicted several times and convicted in one of those cases. The criminal prosecution against him began in ended in June 2021 after he entered into a plea deal with the new District Attorney in Lafayette, Don Landry.

Under the terms of the deal, Pope pleaded no contest to one count malfeasance in office. In exchange, the remainder of the charges against him have been dropped. He'll serve three years of probation, and must repay $84,742.30 in fees he pocketed, which prosecutors alleged he shouldn't have taken. He also has to pay $435.00 in court costs, records show.

The deal executed in June dropped 16 additional counts of malfeasance in office, and brought to a close a years-long prosecution of Pope, which included multiple indictments, appeals and hearings.

In March, Pope was released from prison after serving part of his one-year sentence that was handed down after a judge convicted him of felony malfeasance charges in 2018. He was free on bail while he appealed that conviction; once he exhausted his appeals he was sent to jail.

The two remaining indictments against him were disposed with the plea deal; one accused him of pocketing marshal fines that should have been used on the office's operations, and another accused him of using marshal funds to pay for two conference trips, then turning in the receipts for reimbursement from the city and pocketing that money.