Sources tell IND Monthly several guilty pleas are expected soon, possibly this week, in the federal government's investigation of DA Mike Harson's office's handling of OWI cases. Sources with knowledge of the federal extortion and bribery investigation involving OWI and other types of criminal cases prosecuted by 15th Judicial Attorney Mike Harson's office say guilty pleas will be entered this week in federal court.
Lafayette criminal defense attorney Frank Dawkins would not comment on whether his client, Barna Haynes, Harson's former longtime office administrator, has negotiated a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office. "I can't confirm it," Dawkins tells IND Monthly.
Haynes is believed to be a target in the investigation along with private investigator Robert Williamson; her office and Williamson's home were searched by the feds on the same day in March of last year.
An undisclosed number of people, including local attorneys, received letters from the U.S. Attorney's Office offering plea deals. KLFY obtained a copy of one of the letters (it is unclear if everyone received the same offer) and posted it here.
"I do know that there are ongoing plea discussions with some people, some of the targets of the investigation," says Alexandria criminal defense attorney Mike Small, who represents Williamson. "It wouldn't surprise me to learn that there are pleas entered."
Small says his client will not be among those entering a plea. "We have not had any offers of a plea to resolve the Williamson case. ... Unless things change I really don't anticipate it," he says. Read more about Williamson's checkered past here.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to an emailed request about any potential pleas.
Small also told IND Monthly he has no idea when any possible charges might be filed in the case.