LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — A federal judge postponed the scheduled Dec. 16 trial of a Lafayette private investigator accused of helping organize a scheme to bribe employees of the 15th Judicial District Attorney's Office for favorable treatment in DWI cases.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/17k5DdQ ) U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote pushed back Robert Williamson's trial in the federal investigation to March 10, citing concerns about Williamson's health and the need for his defense attorney to have more time to prepare.
Williamson's attorney, Thomas Damico, requested the trial delay earlier this month.
The attorney wrote in court filings that Williamson, 64, needs immediate medical care and will not be available to help prepare for his defense.
Damico did not elaborate on the nature of Williamson's health problems, but he has a history of mental issues and strokes, according to court filings in an unrelated civil case in which his family members temporarily sought in 2012 to take control of his financial and medical affairs.
A federal grand jury indicted Williamson in February on charges of conspiracy, bribery and making a false statement to a federal agent.
He is accused of plying employees of the District Attorney's Office with cash and gifts in return for favorable treatment of criminal defendants, mainly in DWI cases.
Five others have pleaded guilty in the investigation, including three former employees of the District Attorney's Office who helped arrange special plea deals that allowed for the quick resolution of the criminal cases and the immediate reinstatement of driving privileges.
The scheme operated from 2008 to 2012, and employees of the District Attorney's Office received more than $70,000 in cash plus gifts.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com