Judge acquits Ascension Parish president of bribery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Judge acquits Ascension Parish president of bribery

GONZALES, La. (AP) - A judge has acquitted a Louisiana local official of bribery.

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa was accused of bribing a candidate to withdraw from a Gonzales City Council race. Matassa said he just lent money to a friend who was having trouble.

News outlets report that State District Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. found Wednesday that prosecutors failed to prove Wayne Lawson was offered money and a parish job to withdraw.

Matassa waived a jury trial. Kliebert ruled without hearing defense witnesses.

Lawson and a local news website publisher had secretly recorded Matassa and a codefendant who testified against him.

The Advocate reports that Kliebert said it was clear they wanted Lawson to drop out of the race, but they also appeared to indicate that he'd get money and a job even if he stayed in.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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