Attorney: Case against Matassa should be tossed due to 'candidacy law'
GONZALES – The attorney for embattled Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa argues in newly-filed court documents, the bribery case against Matassa is unwarranted because the man he is accused of bribing not to run for office was not a real “candidate” under state law.
Matassa was indicted on charges earlier this year. He is accused of offering a bribe to get a man running for office in Gonzales to drop out of the race. Audio recordings released last year by the Pelican Post Newspaper appeared to show Matassa and another businessman in Ascension Parish offering a bribe to Wayne Lawson, a candidate for Gonzales City Council. Lawson claims he was offered $1,200 to drop out of the race and was promised a job by Matassa if he made a fast exit.
Today, Lewis Unglesby said the case against his client should be tossed because Lawson owed the state money and did not live in Gonzales where he was running for City Council. That's not all.
"The only monies that the man gets come from the same people creating the tapes," Unglesby said. "None come from Mr. Matassa never a dollar passes through his hands at anytime."
Another one of Matassa's attorneys, Lance Unglesby, previously likened the money to a loan between friends. In a court filing early Thursday, though, Unglesby argued Lawson had previous campaign debts, thus disqualifying him from seeking public office until the debts were paid.
The Attorney General's Office is the lead prosecuting agency on the case. It declined to comment today citing the pending prosecution.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit and Chris Nakamoto are working this story today, check back for updates.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz
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