Bribery scheme allegations surface in federal lawsuit - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports


Bribery scheme allegations surface in federal lawsuit

Robert Guidry Robert Guidry
Former Governor Edwin Edwards Former Governor Edwin Edwards
Congressman William Jefferson Congressman William Jefferson
Former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan Former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The federal court case that sent former Governor Edwin Edwards to prison has a potential new can of worms. New paperwork filed in a mail fraud case lists Congressman William Jefferson as participating in a bribery scheme between former Treasure Chest Casino owner Robert Guidry and former U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan. Both Guidry and Jordan were key players in the Edwards case. WAFB's Jim Shannon has more.

Even the federal court labels the motion filed as 'sensational.' It all centers around Robert Guidry's former attorney, James Perdiago. Back during the Edwards trial, Robert Guidry was a key witness against the former governor in 2000. Guidry claimed Edwards would collect bribe money from a dumpster. Now, Guidry's own attorney is stirring the pot. Edwards was eventually convicted, due in large part, to Guidry's testimony. Federal authorities got Guidry to testify against the former governor as part of a deal.

In October 2004, while Edwards was serving time in a federal penitentiary, one of Guidry's former attorneys, James Perdigao, was arrested and indicted in a wire fraud sting involving more than $30 million. Perdigao agreed to cooperate with the government by giving them information. Perdigao alleges Robert Guidry, his client back in 2000, bribed then-U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan, with the help of Congressman William Jefferson. In documents filed in federal court last week, Perdigo alleges, "...Perdigao related detailed information concerning Guidry's payments to Congressman William Jefferson to influence the determination to be made by the then U.S. attorney on limiting the amount of jail time and the amount of fine, forfeiture and restitution Guidry had to pay."

The motion, which was filed by Perdigao, also alleges an assistant U.S. attorney, who was involved in the prep sessions for Guidry, also profited by his association with Guidry. Again, quoting the motion, "...that... Guidry had given substantial sums of money to the AUSA." There are other allegations made. Perdigao claims information he gave the government back in 2004 could have helped the Edwin Edwards appeal process. Perdigao claims, "The U.S. Attorneys Office could not risk validating any information that defendant provided, because to do so could not only jeopardize the conviction of Edwin Edwards, but also could seriously undermine the reputation of the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Louisiana."

9NEWS talked with current U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who was the lead prosecutor on the Edwards case. Letten gave 9NEWS a statement. It reads, "There are a number of malicious misrepresentations that will be dealt with in court and swiftly." New Orleans law firm Adams and Reese is also slammed in the filing by its former employee, James Perdigao. Adams and Reese managing partner, Charles Adams, Jr. tells 9NEWS, "Perdigao is lashing out at those who are holding him accountable for his actions - our firm who caught him and the government who is prosecuting him. Adams and Reese categorically denies Perdigao's allegations of wrongdoing."

The government has until May 9th to respond to the allegations. Federal Judge Eldon Fallon ruled that he would not hide a 'motion to recuse' from public view. Federal officials had tried to have the motion 'sealed.' Edwin Edwards' attorney, Mike Small issued a statement late Monday afternoon. It indicates that he plans on meeting with Edwards this week to discuss their options. Also, there is no word back from the William Jefferson camp on this issue.

Reporter:  Jim Shannon, WAFB 9NEWS



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