The Oct. 24 sentencing of Lafayette’s Henry Mouton, the former state Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner who pleaded guilty more than a year ago to federal charges of conspiracy to receive bribes and illegal payoffs, may be delayed for six-nine months due to Mouton’s key role in the sprawling corruption probe of River Birch landfill.
Nola.com reports that federal prosecutors have requested the delay “due to the continuing cooperation of the defendant.”
Mouton was indicted on numerous corruption charges Feb. 25, 2011, pleading guilty in open court in New Orleans a few months later. The Lafayette resident admitted to using his position as a Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner to lobby public officials statewide in an attempt to keep the Old Gentilly Landfill closed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In return for his efforts, he received 170 checks totaling $463,970 from River Birch landfill owner Fred Heebe.
Mouton was appointed to the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in 2003 by former Gov. Mike Foster, a lifelong friend of Mouton’s. He served until December 2008, but still received payments from the rival landfill owner until April 2010.
He’s facing five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, though Nola.com notes that “maximum penalties are rare for first-time offenders, and he could get a more lenient sentence based on his cooperation:”
In a separate development in the case, Feldman on Tuesday granted a motion by the Department of Justice in Washington to let it take over Mouton’s prosecution. The move came six months after Washington prosecutors replaced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office in other cases related to the River Birch investigation. Letten recused his office in April, after Heebe’s attorneys exposed the online rants of former prosecutor Sal Perricone. Letten’s office, including Perricone, had remained counsel of record for the government in Mouton’s case until Feldman granted the recent motion.
for more from Nola.com.
Read more on Mouton from IND Monthly here