The cases against former Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope have ended with a plea deal; "Brian cut his losses," his attorney says.
"My client is tired and he is becoming destitute and his family is tired," said Brett Grayson, Pope's attorney. "I personally believe that what he was charged with he was not guilty of, nor never could be legally guilty of, but he made a decision and he wanted to end it."
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 this morning drops 16 additional counts of malfeasance in office, and brings 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 of this morning; 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.
The case regarding the marshal fines became problematic when the legislature recently passed a law allowing the Lafayette City Marshal to pocket them. To read about that, click here.
Grayson said the case was problematic even before the law was passed, because of the history of the handling of fees and the way city marshals are paid. The laws have been unclear and in conflict for some time, he said. Pope's predecessors all pocketed the fees he was indicted for taking, Grayson said.
Pope was suspended early on in these cases, but still tried to run for re-election to the Marshal post last fall. Two judges ruled his candidacy was invalid.
To read the background on Pope's legal issues, which began with a lawsuit filed by The Independent newspaper over public records, click here.
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