KLFY-TV10 has obtained a copy of a target letter issued by the US Attorney’s Office. Click here to read it.
Eyewitness news has learned the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office believe they’ve exposed an alleged bribery scheme the feds claim has been operating inside the Lafayette Parish Courthouse.
The investigation first became public in March when the FBI obtained search warrants to examine DWI records.
Soon afterward, District Attorney Mike Harson’s long time Administrative Assistant, Barna Haynes, was placed on administrative leave and eventually resigned.
Now, after months of collecting evidence agents are alleging a combination of attorneys and employees of the court have been making thousands of dollars to make DWI cases disappear.
Sources close to the case say those allegedly involved in this scheme were asking anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per case to make a DWI go away.
We’re being told upwards of 20 people may be involved. In the last few days FBI agents have reportedly been hand delivering what are called “target letters” to those individuals.
District Attorney Mike Harson declined comment again Tuesday about a federal investigation into allegations of bribery and extortion connected to drunken driving prosecutions in Lafayette.
A letter, sent to The Daily Advertiser anonymously and purporting to have been sent to a target of the investigation, indicates that federal prosecutors may be ready to go to a grand jury as early as this month. The Daily Advertiser has been unable to confirm the authenticity of the letter, or information reported by KLFY-TV 10 that multiple letters have been issued.
News of the investigation into the handling of drunken driving cases here surfaced last spring in connection with the 15th Judicial District’s pretrial diversion program. That program allows certain nonviolent offenders, including defendants in drunken driving cases, to have their records expunged if they meet certain requirements and stay out of trouble.
The letter says the FBI has developed evidence showing that the recipient “participated in criminal activity associated with individuals obtaining favorable treatment from the Lafayette Parish District Attorney’s Office for the 15th Judicial District.