LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — Vowing to crack down on public corruption in Louisiana, the state's new attorney general announced the arrests on Monday of six people on charges related to a bribery investigation of a south Louisiana district attorney's office.
Two defense attorneys, a probation officer and a deputy city marshal were among the six people arrested by FBI agents and investigators from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry's office.
Landry, who was elected in November and sworn in last month, said the cases reflect his office's "renewed focus" on curbing public corruption by cooperating with federal authorities.
"The federal government should not and will not be alone in this mission under my administration," Landry said. "Under my watch, we will enforce state ethics laws and not just rely on the federal government to take the lead on these issues. We will work together."
Landry said the arrests stemmed from his administration's review of unresolved cases that it inherited from his predecessor, James "Buddy" Caldwell, who served as attorney general for eight years.
The arrests are related to a federal investigation that already has resulted in the convictions of six people, including three former employees of former Lafayette Parish District Attorney Mike Harson's administration. Keith Stutes defeated Harson, his former boss, in November 2014.
In September, a judge sentenced private investigator Robert Williamson to 78 months in prison for his role in the "pay-for-plea" scheme that provided favorable treatment to defendants charged with drunken driving and other crimes.
FBI Special Agent Donald Bostic said the investigation was initiated by the FBI in 2011.
"The integrity of those involved in the judicial process is not an option. It is essential," Bostic said. "Those who peddle their influence in return for personal gain damage the very fabric of the judicial system."
The six people arrested included Christopher Luke Edwards and Dan Kennison, whom Landry identified as defense attorneys. Landry's office said Edwards and Kennison face charges of "corrupt influencing, criminal conspiracy and accessory after the fact" but didn't immediately provide any additional information about the allegations.
Kevin Ozene, a deputy clerk of court for Lafayette Parish, was arrested on charges of injuring public records and malfeasance in office. Justina Ina, a probation officer for the Lafayette Parish DA's office, was arrested on a charge of malfeasance in office. Kenneth Franques, a deputy city marshal for the City of Lafayette, was arrested on a charge of public bribery. Joy Trahan, a manager in the Lafayette branch for the state Office of Motor Vehicles, was arrested on charges of malfeasance in office and criminal conspiracy.
It was not immediately known whether any of the arrested suspects had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.