La. private investigator arraigned in bribery case


LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A Lafayette private investigator has pleaded not guilty to bribery charges in an alleged plot to solicit money from people facing state criminal charges in exchange for promising to help favorably resolve the cases.

The private investigator, 64-year-old Robert Williamson, was freed on $50,000 bond following his arraignment Wednesday in federal court. He was indicted in February on six counts of bribery and one count each of conspiracy, Social Security fraud and making false statements to a federal agent.

Williamson allegedly participated in a "pay-for-plea" scheme to solicit thousands of dollars from people with criminal cases, mostly drunken driving charges, pending in the state's 15th Judicial District Court.

The Advertiser reports ( that three former employees of District Attorney Mike Harson's office also were charged in the case and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities.

The indictment accuses Williamson of paying cash and other bribes to employees of the district attorney's office and obtaining bogus documents that falsely certified his clients completed court-ordered community service or driver-improvement programs.

A preliminary trial date for Williamson has been set for Dec. 16.

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