True bill returned in case of Baldwin alderman election
Baldwin Alderman Tony Gibson’s case of alleged elections violations was brought before a St. Mary Parish grand jury Tuesday.
A true bill was returned on two counts against Gibson in the bill of indictment filed by Camille A. Morvant II, Lafourche Parish district attorney.
The indictment charges that Gibson knowingly filed false public records when qualifying to run for the Baldwin alderman position, and supplied a false answer or statement to an election official in a document.
An arraignment date has not yet been set.
In February, he was disqualified from the elected alderman’s seat in a ruling by 16th Judicial District Court Judge Jim McClelland.
His attorney, however, said he would appeal the ruling to the 1st District Court of Appeals and take it to the state Supreme Court, if necessary. The attorney, Nelson Taylor, said Gibson would be able to hold his seat until the appeals process is exhausted.
Gibson’s qualification was challenged by Morvant based on a state constitutional amendment enacted in 1998 that bars convicted felons from holding elected office. Morvant was assigned the case after 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney recused himself and his office over potential conflicts of interest.
Gibson had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in a plea bargain in December 1997 and was placed on probation. He also has a pending misdemeanor drug charge in St. Mary Parish for possession of marijuana from April 2010.
Article 1 Section 10 of the Louisiana constitution prohibits anyone from running for or holding office if convicted of a felony unless the governor has granted a pardon, or if more than 15 years have passed since completion of the original sentence.
Morvant said neither of those conditions apply in Gibson’s case. He was issued an automatic first offender pardon in October 2002 which signaled the end of his sentence, Morvant said.