Revealed: Exclusive New Details Regarding (Different) Allegations of Bribery of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson
A civil complaint filed yesterday in a Louisiana federal court reveals new details of an alleged bribery scheme involving Rep. William Jefferson. The alleged bribe is different from the ones for which Jefferson has been indicted. The new details are revealed exclusively here on patterico.com for the first time.
The background: last month, guest blogger DRJ and I reported on a motion by indicted Louisiana attorney James G. Perdigao. Perdigao’s motion leveled serious accusations of wrongdoing by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana — and raised new accusations of bribery of then-U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan and U.S. Representative William Jefferson.
Perdigao’s allegations may help Governor Edwin Edwards challenge his conviction for taking bribes, in return for issuing valuable riverboat casino licenses. Businessman Robert Guidry made about $100 million from one of those licenses, and then testified against Edwards. But Guidry’s plea bargain raised eyebrows across the state. Not only did Guidry receive only five months in a halfway house, but prosecutors also allowed him to keep more than $96 million of the $100 million he made from the illegally obtained license.
As a local columnist opined: “The abiding mystery of the Edwards trial is how come Guidry got such a sweet deal.”
Perdigao says he can solve the mystery: Guidry bribed the feds. And, Perdigao says, he did so through William Jefferson.
Of course, Perdigao may be lying. After all, the feds indicted him for stealing $30 million from his own law firm.
But if you’re going to implicate a congressman in a bribery scandal, William Jefferson is a good pick.
Last night, I received an anonymous e-mail attaching what purports to be a civil complaint by Perdigao against his former law firm of Adams & Reese. According to the file stamp on the document, it was filed in Lousiana federal court yesterday at 3:23 p.m. You can read the complaint in its entirety here. The document provides fascinating details regarding a number of Perdigao’s previous allegations, and makes several new allegations.
This post focuses on the complaint’s juiciest and most newsworthy allegation: the details of Robert Guidry’s alleged scheme to bribe U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan through U.S. Representative William Jefferson.
At page 9, the complaint states:
In the spring of 1998, plaintiff had a meeting with Guidry at Guidry’s penthouse apartment above his offices in Harvey, Louisiana. At this meeting, as they were discussing recent events regarding the Edwards grand jury in Baton Rouge, Guidry proceeded to tell plaintiff how he was bribing U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan through U.S. Rep. Bill Jefferson. Guidry instructed plaintiff to follow him into the bathroom off of the master bedroom where he proceeded to fill a bag with cash that had been hidden under some tiles next to the bathtub. Guidry noted that he never placed the money directly in Jefferson’s hands, but rather under the back steps while Jefferson watched inside through the window. Guidry then recounted the story of his first “drop” under the back steps of Jefferson’s house in New Orleans. When Guidry entered the backyard, he found two sets of steps. With a puzzled look, he glanced through the window for directions from Jefferson. Guidry related that both he and Jefferson “cracked up laughing” as Jefferson pointed him to behind a planter by the correct stairs.
I’m cracking up laughing myself.
I’ll likely have more on Perdigao’s new allegations in coming days. In the meantime, read them yourself. Maybe you’ll crack up laughing too.
I haven’t been able to conclusively verify that this complaint is genuine. The federal courts’ PACER system had not recorded the filing when I searched last night. However, the document, which you can read for yourself at the above link, appears authentic. For now, take it for what it’s worth. As soon as I can conclusively verify its authenticity, I will let you know. Based on the speed with which the courts update the system, this may take 2-3 days. [UPDATE 5-28-08 7:05 a.m.: The complaint has appeared on PACER. It is genuine.]
P.P.S. Note also that the complaint is verified, meaning that Perdigao signed a sworn statement stating that the allegations in the complaint are true. Now, considering the source, that’s not ironclad corroboration. But the complaint contains a number of colorful direct quotes, suggesting that Perdigao was, at a minimum, taking contemporaneous notes during these events. It’s even conceivable that he secretly recorded some of the conversations described in the complaint.
If he did, fasten your seatbelts, because this will be a wild ride.