A week after spending seven days under house arrest for contempt of court, City Marshal Brian Pope was hit with two more felony charges by a Lafayette grand jury Wednesday, bringing to seven the number the elected officer faces since his initial indictment in August.
Bond on each new count was set at $5,000, according to District Attorney Keith Stutes. The indictment triggers a warrant, and Pope is required to bond in and out of the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
Pope was originally indicted in August on five counts — two perjury charges and three for misuse of public funds. The misuse charges were reworded to malfeasance in Wednesday’s superseding indictment. Stutes says it’s unclear at this point why charges 3 through 5 in the August indictment were reworded. Two additional malfeasance charges were added today.
Pope's house arrest was imposed by 15th Judicial District Court Judge Jules Edwards in connection with Pope’s ongoing civil public records dispute with The Independent. Revelations from a series of hearings involving Pope and this newspaper led D.A. Stutes to confirm in April the launch of a criminal probe into Pope’s role in trying to help an ally, Scott Police Chief Chad Leger, get elected Lafayette Parish sheriff last year — a scheme that was unsuccessful.
Stutes declines to say whether the grand jury would hear more evidence against Pope, or whether others named in the sheriff’s election scheme are in the grand jury’s gaze.
“I can’t say that — either confirm or deny that,” he says, with a caveat. “Things continue to occur and continue to be discovered, so if at any point we consider the investigation complete, we’ll present it to the grand jury, but if additional information arises then that in effect reopens the investigation.”
Criminal defense attorney Kevin Stockstill, who represented Pope on the case earlier this year, says he is surprised by the additional charges filed Wednesday but is no longer representing the marshal.