Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thomas Porteous' Defense Says Four Judges Took Money From Corrupt Bond Agents

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As Thomas Porteous, the impeached federal judge from Metairie, prepares his defense before the U.S. Senate, he is alleging that 10 other judges received money from the bail bonds company at the center of the expansive federal investigation into the Jefferson Parish Courthouse corruption.

In a "proposed stipulation of facts," Porteous' attorneys allege that these judges received money from Louis and Lori Marcotte, siblings who pleaded guilty in 2006 in a racketeering and mail fraud conspiracy connected to their business, Bail Bonds Unlimited. His attorneys don't describe the intent of the payments nor do they mention Porteous ever receiving money from the Marcottes.

Share But by suggesting that other judges were more susceptible than Porteous to the wiles of the Marcottes, the defense hopes to keep Porteous on the bench of the U.S. District Court in New Orleans. The House of Representatives impeached Porteous in March, setting up his trial in the Senate. If convicted by the Senate, Porteous would lose his lifetime job, which currently pays $174,000 a year. He's close to the end of a two-year paid suspension.

Porteous fell under suspicion after the FBI, in what the agency called Operation Wrinkled Robe, began examining allegations of corruption at the Gretna courthouse in 1999. He was a state judge there for 10 years until President Clinton appointed him to the federal bench in 1994.

The investigation sent two Gretna judges to prison, and a third was removed from office by the Louisiana Supreme Court. But the U.S. Justice Department decided not to charge Porteous with a crime, instead referring him to his federal court superiors for impeachment.

Of the 10 judges who reportedly received money from the Marcottes, Porteous' defense names only four: Patrick McCabe and Stephen Windhorst of the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, George Giacobbe of Jefferson's 1st Parish Court in Metairie and Roy Cascio of the 2nd Parish Court in Gretna. This is the first time these specific accusations, attributed to the Marcottes' depositions, have surfaced publicly in the aftermath of the Wrinkled Robe investigation.

Porteous' attorneys did not release the Marcottes' original testimony this week.

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