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Louisiana man in alleged bribery probe released pending trial

Louisiana residents, who have been charged with a crime, know that the time between being accused and actually standing trial can be a very frightening and confusing period. The judicial system is supposed to presume all those facing criminal charges are innocent until proven guilty, and, yet, accused people often find their freedoms strictly limited before any jury has heard evidence against them.

Recently, a Louisiana man was released pending his trial on federal charges of conspiracy, bribery and making a false statement to a federal agent. The man had to post a $50,000 unsecured bond, which means he will have to pay the court that amount only if he fails to show up for trial. Also, as part of his release, he had to surrender his passport and agree to have no contact with any witnesses in the case.

The man was indicted by a federal grand jury in February as part of an investigation into what prosecutors say was a bribery scheme. The man, a private investigator, is accused of paying people in the District Attorney's office to give preferential treatment to clients accused of crimes, mostly DWI charges. Three former employees of the District Attorney's office have already pleaded guilty to illegally accepting cash or gifts in the alleged scheme.

Bribery is the offering or accepting of anything of value in exchange for influence on a public official or employee. Bribes can be in the form of cash, gifts or favors made in exchange for government contracts or other favorable treatment. If convicted, the man could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on the bribery charges alone.

Source: The Advocate, "Suspected in bribery case released pending trial," Richard Burgess, March 25, 2013.

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