Henry Mouton headed to court again

by Heather Miller

Details on Mouton's plea deal are expected to come out at his second arraignment in New Orleans. New details on Henry Mouton's federal corruption charges could surface Wednesday when the Lafayette resident and former state Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioner appears for a second arraignment in New Orleans for a change of plea.

A federal grand jury indicted Mouton, 54, in February on charges of bribery, conspiracy and lying to federal investigators. The feds accuse Mouton of using his unpaid position as a Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner to lobby against the old Gentilly Landfill in New Orleans, which the state reopened after Katrina to expedite cleanup efforts. Mouton reportedly received $463,970 from a rival landfill owner in exchange for his expansive letter-writing campaign to state officials, members of Congress and even the FBI.

The landfill owner was not named in the indictment, but was later identified through court documents as River Birch Landfill owner Fred Heebe, another target of federal investigation for his ties to potential corruption in Jefferson Parish. New Orleans' Gambit newspaper later reported that a source close to the landfill says Mouton was on retainer for one of Heebe's other companies, Shadow Lake Management, for years before former Gov. Mike Foster appointed him to the WL&F Commission.

Mouton pleaded not guilty in March, but has since been scheduled for a second arraignment in which he'll plead guilty as part of an agreement reached with federal prosecutors. Mouton's Baton Rouge defense attorney Mary Olive Pierson has not released any more info on the deal and says specifics will be revealed in court.

His plea deal with the feds is one of several indications that Mouton may have been a casualty of the widespread investigation into Jefferson Parish and prosecutors are using Mouton's ties to the landfill to dig deeper into more serious charges.

The Ind will continue to post updates on its website as more details emerge.

Read more on Mouton's saga here.