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2nd 'Blighted Official' trial begins

Monday, June 6, 2011 - 11:39am

Jury selection began Monday to decide if former New Roads Mayor, Tommy Nelson is guilty of taking bribes, lying to the FBI and wire fraud.

This is a criminal case, and Nelson could face up to 65 years in prison federal prison if he is found guilty of all charges.

The FBI investigation, called “Operation Blighted Officials” found that Nelson took $22,000 in bribes plus gifts from William Myles, a businessman working undercover selling contracts for a bogus garbage cleaning company, called Cifer 5,000.

Nelson’s attorneys say he is innocent, and the government is guilty of entrapment. They say Nelson was set up.

The first “Blighted Official” trial ended back in March. Former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown and his brother, Police Chief Mario Brown were tried together on similar charges. Only Maurice Brown was convicted of corruption. Mario Brown was acquitted.

More charges are pending against other Louisiana officials, as a result of the FBI investigation, including St. Gabriel Mayor George Grace and Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis.

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