Attorney for Ascension Parish president files motion to dismiss prosecution in alleged election bribery case

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Lewis Unglesby, the attorney representing Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa in the alleged election bribery case, filed a motion Thursday afternoon to dismiss the prosecution in the case.

In the motion, Unglesby claims Wayne Lawson, the man Matassa is accused of bribing to not run for office, was never a legitimate candidate under state law. In Louisiana, a candidate must live at a certain address in the district in which they are seeking election.

Unglesby points to several different addresses Lawson allegedly used months before he filed for candidacy. Matassa and Gonzales businessman, Olin Berthelot, are accused of offering Lawson money, a job, and future support in a parish election if he would drop out of the race. Audio recordings of the alleged bribe was released last year by online newspaper, The Pelican Post.

Matassa has been indicted by a grand jury on bribery charges. Berthelot has also been indicted for his role in allegedly bribing Lawson to drop out of the Gonzales City Council race. Both men are charged with felony election offenses involving bribery.

"This wasn't created by the attorney general, the district attorney, the sheriff, or any other police, this was a couple of guys putting together their own little operation and they don't qualify under the law for what happened," said Unglesby.

The Louisiana Attorney General's Office is not commenting on the motion filed. A hearing is set for October 10. Berthelot's attorney, Steven Moore, says he intends to file the same motion on behalf of his client Friday.

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