LAFAYETTE — A St. Landry Parish School Board member is asking a judge to toss out his federal bribery charge for allegedly asking a superintendent candidate for $5,000 in exchange for the board member’s vote of support.
Quincy Richard Sr. argues in court papers filed Monday that federal prosecutors have overstepped their bounds in trying to pursue a case that, if prosecuted, should be done at the state level.
Most criminal cases handled in federal court have some connection with the federal government.
In this case, federal prosecutors have alleged that the bribery case falls under federal jurisdiction because the St. Landry Parish School Board, like most school boards, receives federal education dollars.
Richard’s attorney, his son, Quincy Richard Jr., argues that the link is too tenuous because the allegations have nothing to do with how the board spends federal dollars.
The son wrote in court filings that the federal “power of the purse cannot be allowed to buy the right to set the terms of conduct for educators in the state of Louisiana.”
No hearing has been set on the motion to dismiss.
In November, Quincy Richard Sr., 50, and John Miller, 71, both of Opelousas, pleaded not guilty to federal charges that they each asked a superintendent candidate for $5,000 in exchange for their votes naming him to the post.
Richard Sr. and Miller face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Both men are still on the School Board.
Joseph Cassimere was one of five candidates for the job and has been serving as interim superintendent.
The school system has been without a superintendent since former Superintendent Michael Nassif stepped down last year.
The board was scheduled to vote Sept. 26 to name someone to the post, but that vote was put on hold after the investigation of Miller and Richard was made public.
The indictment alleges that the two men accepted $5,000 each from a candidate for the superintendent’s job during a Sept. 24 meeting at The Quarters Casino and Travel Plaza in Opelousas.
The indictment does not give the name of the candidate, but a separate report from the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office states the Sheriff’s Office was put on notice Sept. 24 that an FBI agent was conducting a sting operation at the Quarters in reference to Miller and Richard allegedly asking Cassimere for cash in exchange for their votes.
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