Ascension Parish President Matassa grand jury likely in February

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A new grand jury appears to be scheduled to hear the case involving Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa starting next month, a person connected to the case says.

Matassa is accused of offering cash and a job to candidate Wayne Lawson if Lawson would agree to drop out of the Gonzales City Council race.

The allegations, which include audio recordings of Matassa, his friend Olin Berthelot, and Lawson, were first reported by the Pelican Post, an online newspaper. The editor of that publication, Wade Petite, says he was served with a subpoena Tuesday to appear before the grand jury on February 13.

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Matassa, who has denied any wrongdoing, says he was simply trying to offer advice to a friend.

Lawson said Tuesday he has not received a subpoena for February.

A grand jury was set to hear the case last November but those proceedings were postponed because the jury's time of service had expired.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's Office is heading up the case. Attorney General Press Secretary Ruth Wisher said Tuesday her office does not comment on potential grand jury proceedings.

District Attorney Ricky Babin began investigating the case last year. However, he later recused his office from the case because he found out some members of his staff contributed to Matassa's 2015 campaign for parish president.

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