LAFAYETTE — A Lafayette private investigator who allegedly orchestrated a bribery scheme to get favorable treatment for DWI defendants in the local court system is asking a federal judge to push back his scheduled March 10 trial.
Five others, including three former employees of the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, already have pleaded guilty in the probe.
They have agreed to cooperate in the case against Robert Williamson, the private investigator accused of working for a cash fee then using some of the money to pay off employees of the District Attorney’s Office to secure special plea deals for his clients.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote has already granted one delay in the case, pushing Williamson’s trial back from its original date in December until March after he asked for time to seek medical care.
Williamson’s attorney, Thomas Damico, filed court papers Monday seeking a second delay, arguing that he needs more time to review evidence that includes 136 surveillance tapes of Williamson and others, and 400 interviews of 224 potential witnesses.
Damico wrote that he plans on seeking outside help in the case and that he “will require several additional months to adequately prepare this matter for trial.”
No ruling on the request had been made as of Monday afternoon.
A federal grand jury indicted Williamson last year on charges of conspiracy, bribery and making a false statement to a federal agent.
The alleged scheme operated from 2008 to 2012, and employees of the District Attorney’s Office received more than $70,000 in cash, along with gifts that included bicycles, clothing and an autographed New Orleans Saints hat, according to court filings from federal prosecutors that outline the allegations.
Federal prosecutors have not said how many DWI cases were involved.
District Attorney Michael Harson has not been implicated in the scheme and has said he was not aware of any bribes involving his employees.