All told, Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope’s legal defense has cost the city dearly as it’s grown appellate and criminal branches. Beginning with Charles K. Middleton, the attorney Pope first retained to fend off public records inquiries from ABiz sister publication The Independent, the marshal has purchased the representation of a total of six attorneys and obtained pro bono advice from at least one lawyer, according to invoices obtained by public records requests.
Recent judgments in the ongoing civil case have exposed Pope to at least $197,000 in liabilities to this media organization, including nearly $30,000 in penalties, for his failure to turn over records the paper requested late last year while probing his meddling in the sheriff’s campaign to promote the election of Chad Leger. When added to his more than $115,000 in attorney and consultant fees combined for his criminal and civil defense, Pope has exposed public coffers to more than $312,000 in costs to cover up his bungled foray into shadow politics. Pope currently faces five felony counts stemming from the dispute.
THE WHO AND HOW MUCH OF POPE’S LEGAL DEFENSE TEAM AS OF PRESS TIME:
CHARLES K. MIDDLETON — $52,172. A DUI lawyer by trade now withdrawn as counsel. Pope’s current defense implies he made up a bogus investigation and twice lied under oath on Middleton’s advice. Pope still owes Middleton $10,000.
J. KEVIN STOCKSTILL — $25,334. Pope’s primary criminal defense attorney. Stockstill took the baton from Middleton as Pope’s go-to guy in the records battle. The capable attorney now leads Pope’s defense against a multi-count felony indictment.
JOY RABALAIS — $3,246. Pope’s current primary civil defense attorney. Rabalais came onto the case in the spring. She also represents Scott Police Chief Chad Leger (personally) and LCG, two other parties with an interest in the records suit.
MARK PLAISANCE — $15,000. A reputable appeal attorney based in Thibodaux. Pope hired Plaisance to argue that The Independent has no right to bring suit, because the newspaper is not a person. No ruling has been issued on the appeal.
KATHERINE GUILBEAU GUILLOT — $10,000. Hired to write a writ of review appealing a contempt of court ruling against Pope. The writ was denied.
JONATHAN JARRETT — $1,175. A criminal defense and family law attorney based in Lafayette. Billing records indicate Jarrett consulted on Pope’s behalf with Alan Haney, the lead prosecutor in Pope’s criminal case.