LAFAYETTE — A St. Landry Parish School Board member convicted last month on federal bribery charges has asked a judge to toss his conviction, arguing in court filings this week that he thought a cash-stuffed envelope he pocketed in 2012 contained official School Board correspondence rather than money.
That claim is made despite testimony at Quincy Richard Sr.’s trial that he told an FBI agent he planned to use the cash for new rims and tires for his Corvette.
A federal jury on Aug. 20 voted unanimously to convict Richard on bribery charges for soliciting a $5,000 payment from superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere in exchange for voting to give Cassimere the job and lobbying other board members to do the same.
Former board member John Miller also was charged in the case and pleaded guilty earlier this year to a bribery charge.
Cassimere, who was serving as acting superintendent at the time and ultimately did not get the superintendent’s job, had reported the bribery attempt to federal authorities.
He then cooperated in an investigation that culminated with an exchange of cash on Sept. 24 at the Quarters Restaurant and Casino in Opelousas that the FBI secretly recorded.
Richard’s attorney — his son, Quincy Richard Jr. — argued in court filings this week that the board member had no idea that the envelope he accepted on Sept. 24 contained $5,000.
“Mr. Richard intended to accept St. Landry School Board documents from the acting superintendent,” the son wrote in a request to have U.S. District Judge Richard Haik to void the jury’s verdict.
The son pointed out that the envelope containing the cash had the School Board’s emblem on it and that Cassimere had commented that the envelope contained “board packets.”
In the FBI’s recording of the exchange, Cassimere also can be heard saying the envelopes contained “fifties and hundreds,” and Richard Sr. can be heard discussing a plan to have the School Board inflate Cassimere’s salary to cover the cost of the payment.
FBI Agent Pamela McCarthy testified at the trial that when she confronted Richard in the parking lot of the Quarters after the Sept. 24, exchange, the board member told her he had planned to use the $5,000 to outfit his Corvette with new rims and tires.
While Richard challenges his bribery conviction, the board member has been suspended from office and will not be able to regain the seat if his conviction upheld.
Federal prosecutors had not filed a response to the Richard’s motion for acquittal as of Wednesday afternoon.