James Gill: Mouton ‘may well fold’ to the feds for a deal
Longtime Times-Picayune political columnist James Gill says Lafayette’s Henry Mouton is “under enormous pressure” to accept a plea agreement in exchange for his testimony against landfill giant Fred Heebe.
Gill writes in a Sunday Times-Pic column that Mouton’s recent federal indictment was a mere consequence of federal investigators’ ongoing probe into former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and his administration, which helped to shape a still controversial $160 million garbage disposal contract with River Birch Landfill, owned by Heebe.
Mouton has been formally charged with conspiracy, receiving illegal payoffs and making false statements to federal agents after the feds found that Mouton, a former state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner, received almost a half a million dollars from River Birch landfill while lobbying for the closure of a rival landfill.
The feds are accusing Mouton of using his position as a WL&F commissioner to lobby for the landfill, but recent articles point out that Mouton was paid by River Birch years before and stayed on the payroll for another two years after leaving the commission:
Mouton’s indictment leaves the strong impression that the feds have Heebe cold, but, [Heebe’s lawyer Kyle] Schonekas points out, it does so by mangling fact. It suggests, for instance, that Mouton started receiving payments from River Birch shortly after he was appointed to the wildlife commission in 2003. In fact, he had been on the payroll since 1999, Schonekas says. That, unless the feds suspect Heebe of clairvoyance, hardly fits the theory that he was taken on to use his official stroke to squelch River Birch’s competition.
[Mouton] may well fold yet, and will indeed be under enormous pressure to do so. According to the indictment, Mouton lied to the FBI and failed to pay taxes on the River Birch money, so the feds can destroy him regardless of the bribery rap. But if he is sweating, so will the feds be so long as he declines to roll over, because Heebe promises to be a tough nut.
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OCT 30 If you're a Louisiana native of (ahem) a certain age, you might have fond (or fuzzy, as the case may be) memories of a Zebra concert and singing "Who's Behind the Door" until your ears rang. This post on NOLA Defender profiles the leader of that band, Randy Jackson.
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OCT 30 Blogger Crazy Crawfish is taking aim at state Superintendent John White again, this time for comments White made recently, claiming that there is no real opposition to Common Core in Louisiana. Crawfish is documenting proof to the contrary here, and lays down the gauntlet to "mainstream news media." (Don't hold your breath on that one, buddy.)
OCT 30 Gambit covers Advocate publisher John Georges' recent visit to Loyola in this post. Georges touches on how things are going in this new gig, what he thinks about the Pic's decision to move printing to Alabama, and how he feels about his political campaigns.
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OCT 29 Usually, the copy on Red Shtick is satire. But in this post "from the publisher," we get a pretty astute political analysis of Edwin Edwards' charisma and old-school populist swagger. Edwards isn't concealing billionaire backers, or trying to make his opponent out to be "Satan," the post says. He's just running. Huh; imagine that.
OCT 29 Salon's Elias Isquith writes this fairly hilarious commentary on a National Review post about Bobby Jindal's attempts to "beef up" in preparation for a presidential run. But it's not just funny; Isquith seems to have Bobby's number, commenting on how the Gov "and his team are hopelessly ensconced in the Tea Party bubble."
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