Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard and former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson face new charges from federal prosecutors, according to this morning's indictment, which adds six new charges to the duo's pending fraud charges. (Read the Aaron Broussard/Jeff Parish scandal FAQ here.)
Today's superseding indictment charges Broussard and Wilkinson with conspiracy to commit bribery, and Broussard was additionally charged with five counts of substantive bribery — unrelated to the 2003 conspiring to hire Broussard's then-girlfriend Karen Parker as a paralegal supervisor (despite not having any experience) and bumping up her salary significantly. (Parker pleaded guilty; Broussard and Wilkinson did not, to any of the 30-plus charges against them.)
In March, former parish chief administrative officer Tim Whitmer pleaded guilty to one count of concealment of a felony as part of a plea deal to cooperate with the prosecution in the Broussard case.
Ask why Whitmer didn't alert the feds despite knowing about the conspiracy that brought charges against Broussard and Wilkinson, Whitmer's attorney Patrick Fanning said, "The guy had 25 years in parish government. He was working toward retirement, so what are you going to do? ... He made a bad decision."
The latest charges go back to 2002, when William Mack, president-owner of First Communications Company, arranged a $1,500 a month payment to then-councilman Broussard in exchange for Broussard hiring the telecommunications company for parish work.
That relationship continued when Broussard was elected parish president in 2004 — Mack had paid Broussard $66,000, in addition to Mack receiving parish work, worth $40,000. Mack was also charged with one count of conspiracy.
Broussard and Wilkinson are set for trial in October.