GONZALES - Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa pleaded not guilty to charges that he offered 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.
Matassa's attorney, Lance Unglesby, said last year that Matassa was just offering a loan to a friend.
Olin Berthelot pleaded not guilty to the same charges. Prosecutors said he and Matassa had the conversation with Lawson about dropping out of the race.
Correction - A previous version of this story said Olin Berthelot pleaded guilty to bribery charges. The corrected information is in bold.