Second 'Blighted Official' trial begins

Second 'Blighted Official' trial begins

POSTED: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 1:46pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 1:51pm

THIS IS AN NBC33NEWS UPDATE: The jury has been selected and has seated in the case against former New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson. That happened on Tuesday, June 7 around 1:30 in the afternoon.

The jury consists of three black males, one black female, four white males, six white females, one asian woman, one hispanic male. Jennifer Crockett is in the courtroom. She will have that report on NBC33 News at 5 and 10 p.m.

ORIGINAL STORY: Jury selection began Monday to decide if former New Roads Mayor, Tommy Nelson is guilty of taking bribes, lying to the FBI and wire fraud.

This is a criminal case, and Nelson could face up to 65 years in prison federal prison if he is found guilty of all charges.

The FBI investigation, called “Operation Blighted Officials” found that Nelson took $22,000 in bribes plus gifts from William Myles, a businessman working undercover selling contracts for a bogus garbage cleaning company, called Cifer 5,000.

Nelson’s attorneys say he is innocent, and the Government is guilty of entrapment. They say Nelson was set up.

The first “Blighted Official” trial ended back in March. Former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown and his brother, Police Chief Mario Brown were tried together on similar charges. Only Maurice Brown was convicted of corruption. Mario Brown was acquitted.

More charges are pending against other Louisiana officials, as a result of the FBI investigation, including St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace and Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis.

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