Judge refuses to toss case against Mose Jefferson
08:33 PM CDT on Friday, June 26, 2009
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge refused Friday to throw out a bribery case against a former Louisiana congressman's brother, who claims his indictment was tainted by an alleged government leak to a newspaper reporter.
The Times-Picayune of New Orleans posted a story forecasting Mose Jefferson's indictment about an hour before the grand jury convened on April 2, 2008, to vote.
However, Vial Lemmon said the article didn't contain any information that wasn't already in the public domain.
Jefferson "has made no showing that the posting which contained information already in the public domain caused prejudice and bias in the grand jurors, or that the indictment returned was a result of essential unfairness caused by the posting," the judge wrote.
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has denied that the government was the source of any leak to the newspaper.
Mose Jefferson, a brother of former Rep. William Jefferson, is charged with bribing a former New Orleans school board president for her support in awarding school contracts for a computer-based learning system he helped sell. Mose Jefferson is accused of illegally receiving more than $900,000 in commissions for the sale of that system to the New Orleans school board.
Mose Jefferson also awaits a trial in a separate racketeering conspiracy case. In that case, he allegedly conspired with a former Louisiana lawmaker and two of his relatives to pocket more than $600,000 in grant money earmarked for charitable and educational programs.
William Jefferson isn't accused of wrongdoing in either of the cases against his brother, but he is on trial in Virginia for separate corruption charges.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)