BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney David R. Dugas announced Monday that Edward C. James, age 65, of Baton Rouge, LA was charged in a Bill of Information with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and with conspiracy for allegedly accepting or extorting bribes from individuals with pending criminal charges in the Baton Rouge City Court and the 19th Judicial District Court and then sharing the proceeds of the bribe or extortion with a prosecutor or court official who would arrange for the matters to be dismissed or otherwise "fixed."
James was arraigned Monday before U.S. District Judge James Brady and pled guilty to the charges contained in the Bill of Information. The charges against James resulted from Operation "Illegal Motion," an ongoing investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney's Office with the cooperation of the Louisiana Office of Inspector General, the Louisiana State Police, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigative Division and the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Criminal Investigations Division.
The cases are being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Corey R. Amundson and Assistant United States Attorney M. Patricia Jones. James is the fourth individual charged as a result of Operation "Illegal Motion" and the third to plead guilty. James faces a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the RICO charge and a maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the conspiracy charge.
After the guilty plea by James, U. S. Attorney David R. Dugas stated "Operation 'Illegal Motion' is an ongoing investigation that has uncovered evidence of corruption in the criminal court system in East Baton Rouge Parish. Anyone with knowledge of corruption at any level of government, but particularly in the court system or in law enforcement agencies, is urged to contact my office or the FBI to report that information."