Witness says she spotted "odd" charges by Mayor Longo - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Prosecution rests in Mayor Longo's trial

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The prosecution has now rested in the embezzlement trial of Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo after hearing testimony from five witnesses.

The jury heard testimony Wednesday afternoon from the woman who sparked the investigation that lead to his indictment.

Former city clerk Maureen Bordelon testified she first saw "odd charges" to the city fuel account in August 2009.  Bordelon said she was suspicious after checking other documents and finding more diesel fuel charges she turned over the information to the city attorney.  She testified the city vehicle assigned to Longo did not use diesel fuel.

Longo is accused of stealing $1,000 by using the fuel card for his city issued vehicle to fill up his personal vehicle between October 2008 and September 2009.

Waveland police investigator Laura Stepro testified about surveillance video from an Exxon station. She said on three occasions the video showed Longo filling up vehicles, including his personal vehicles.

The defense pointed to that same video which showed a man approaching Longo. Defense Attorney Don Rafferty pointed to that incident as an example that the mayor is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"He didn't do what they're saying he did," Rafferty said in his opening statement to the jury.

In opening arguments Rafferty told jurors Longo drives his personal vehicle more than his city issue vehicle because it's better equipped for his physical needs. The attorney told the jury that Longo is handicapped from past knee and hip surgeries. While both vehicles are trucks, Rafferty said Longo's personal truck has step-up boards and handles making it easier for the mayor to get in and out, as well as electric seats that can be easily adjusted.

The prosecution told the jury the case against Longo is about accountability.

Assistant District Attorney W. Crosby Parker used his opening argument to explain why the mayor is charged with a crime. He told the jury they should "hold the mayor not to a higher standard, but to the standard."

The indictment against Longo issued earlier this year accused him of making the illegal purchases

"He broke the law. It's about accountability pure and simple" Parker said.

Rafferty said in his opening statement to the jury "He didn't do what they're saying he did."

The prosecution called two witnesses Wednesday morning; an employee of Fleet Corps, which managed the city's Fuelman account, and city clerk Lisa Planchard.

The prosecutor asked Planchard whether the city had any vehicles with similar features as Longo's personal truck.

Planchard testified there was a city truck similar to Longo's but it is not the vehicle assigned to the mayor.

WLOX reporter Elizabeth Vowell is in court and will have the latest on WLOX News and wlox.com.

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