U.S. District Judge Richard Haik will sentence former Assistant District Attorney J. Floyd Johnson Wednesday at 9 a.m., bringing an end to a federal probe first reported by The Independent Weekly in February 2010. Guilty of tax evasion, Johnson faces up to five years in prison, a $100,000 fine, and a mandatory minimum term of not less than two years and not more than three years supervised release following confinement. Legal experts consulted by this newspaper say he is likely to do time.
Johnson, then 50, pleaded guilty Nov. 10, 2010, to one count of tax evasion. In July of that year, while still a prosecutor with 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson’s office, he was charged in a bill of information with the single count and resigned from the DA’s office shortly thereafter. The disgraced prosecutor, who had been with the DA’s office for 15 years when he resigned in July, was making about $83,000 for the full-time position.
Johnson was charged with a single count despite that court records show he knowingly failed to file income tax returns for the years 2003-2008.
As part of his tax evasion scheme, Johnson concealed ownership of a home, lying to federal investigators about it. According to court documents, Johnson told investigators that his north Lafayette property at 206 Woodrich Lane, pictured below, belonged to his brother.
Because Johnson notified officials of his intention to plead guilty in a timely fashion, which allowed the government to avoid the expense of preparing for trial, he will get a “one-point reduction in his offense level should that offense level be 16 or greater,” according to the plea agreement filed in court.
The Louisiana Supreme Court issued an interim suspension of Johnson’s law license Dec. 10.
Close legal observers say the fact that he was an officer of the court charged with seeking punishment for those who broke the law — in particular the lead prosecutor in drug cases — does not bode well for him at sentencing. It is widely speculated that the investigation was not triggered by a tax matter related to the IRS but by law enforcement officials’ complaints about Johnson’s record on drug prosecutions, including drug cases he chose not to prosecute and his decisions to reduce charges.
As part of the presentence investigation, the government turned over all evidence developed in the case; presumably, that would include information on how and why the case was initiated.
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