March 15, 2011 03:01 PM
Henry Mouton's notorious defense attorney says he will enter a plea of not guilty. Henry Mouton, the 54-year-old Lafayette resident accused of accepting almost a half a million dollars in bribes from a landfill owner for his efforts to keep a rival landfill closed, is expected to plead not guilty when he appears in New Orleans federal court Thursday for an arraignment.

Mouton's Baton Rouge defense lawyer, Mary Olive Pierson, tells The Times-Picayune that Mouton will plead not guilty.

A federal grand jury on Feb. 25 indicted Mouton, a former state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner, on eight counts of conspiracy, receiving illegal payoffs and lying to federal agents:
The indictment doesn't identify the rival landfill owner, labeling him or her as "co-conspirator A." But other public records indicate that person to be either Fred Heebe or Jim Ward, owners of the River Birch landfill in Waggaman.

Mouton's indictment is the first in a wide-ranging federal investigation into the local landfill business and Jefferson Parish government as a whole.
Read more on Mouton's arraignment here.

For more on Mouton's background and the charges he is facing, read The Independent Weekly's March 9 news story "Oh Henry."