Late last week, a sad story came to its final conclusion. Former Gulfport mayor Brent Warr pleaded guilty to one felony count of defrauding the government to obtain FEMA money in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This after vowing to never plead guilty to anything.
But Warr also said his first priority was protecting his family. By pleading guilty to the one count, the former mayor was sentenced to three years probation, and ordered to pay back $9,500 to the government. No jail time.
In exchange, 19 additional counts against him were dropped, and all 20 court against his wife Laura were dropped. Brent Warr succeeded in protecting his family.
But the plea raises a lot of questions. Was the government's case so weak that federal prosecutors agreed to drop 39 of 40 counts against the Warr's? Why was Mrs. Warr put through legal turmoil, only to have all charges against her dismissed? Why were prosecutors so intent on indicting the Warr's, only to give up almost the entire case in exchange for one guilty plea on a minor charge?
The feds never say why or why not anything happens. But they have the power to destroy lives and reputations without blinking an eye or offering an explanation. Was this a case of prosecutors chasing down a valid fraud case, or just a witch hunt driven by the former mayor's political enemies. You can make the call yourself.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to email@example.com, or post your comments below.
WLOX-TV General Manager