The lawyer for former Iberia Parish Clerk of Court Michael Thibodeaux has filed a motion to have the sentence vacated and a new trial ordered, claiming the prosecution did not prove criminal intent in most of the 14 felony counts on which Thibodeaux was convicted last month.
In his eight-page motion, attorney John McLindon cites a lack of criminal intent as reason for issuing an acquittal on the three counts of theft and seven counts of malfeasance for which Thibodeaux was convicted.
“The motions are standard motions filed at this point,” 16th Judicial District Court District Attorney Bo Duhé said. “We are confident the jury’s verdict will prevail and the motions will be denied.”
The motion will go to 16th Judicial District Court Judge Lewis Pitman for a decision.
On May 28, Thibodeaux was convicted on one count of racketeering, two counts of theft over $25,000, one count of theft between $5,000 and $25,000, two counts of filing or maintaining false public records, seven counts of malfeasance in office and one count of perjury.
Thibodeaux is scheduled to be sentenced before Pitman on June 21.
On the two counts of filing or maintaining public records, McLindon said the use of “certified copies” or “Xerox copies” in the notations for moving funds from the clerk’s fiduciary account for advance court costs to the office’s operating account were not material to the act, but were merely notes for accounting purposes.
“That entry is false, but it is not material,” McLindon said. “It was simply a designation to transfer money from one public account to another, which transferring had been going on for many years before Mike Thibodeaux became Clerk of Court.”
Similarly, he said the perjury count, which the prosecution tied to Thibodeaux’ statement to the grand jury that he did not go to the Louisiana State Police initially with information about his predecessor, Patrick Saunier, was not material to the issues for which Thibodeaux was being tried.
As for the racketeering count, which carries a maximum sentence of 50 years, McLindon said that if the other crimes were not proven, then there was no pattern of criminal conduct on which to base the racketeering conviction.
“The evidence presented, even in the light most favorable to the state, does not permit a finding of guilt,” McLindon wrote in the conclusion.
In addition to asking for an acquittal for Thibodeaux, McLindon said there should be a retrial.
“(Former Chief Deputy Clerk of Court) Ryan Huval did just as much as Mike, and more, and yet remains uncharged,” McLindon said. “The ends of justice would call for the granting of a new trial based on this alone.”