Aug 20, 2010 11:31 AM by Melissa Canone
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Seven people arrested in the FBI's
investigation of corruption in city and state courts in Baton Rouge
received sentences Thursday that ranged from three years in prison
"I feel the victim in this case was the city of Baton Rouge,"
U.S. District Judge James J. Brady said before sending former
senior City Prosecutor Flitcher R. Bell to prison for three years
and fining him $2,000.
Brady said Bell received more than $30,000 in bribes for
dismissing cases. The judge ordered Bell to report to federal
prison on Sept. 20.
"This is probably ... one of the most systemic and pervasive
corruption schemes in this district," Assistant U.S. Attorney
Corey R. Amundson told Brady prior to announcement of the sentence.
"Without Mr. Bell, there is no scheme," Amundson added. "I am
outraged by this."
Outside the courtroom, Bell's attorney, Steven Moore, said that
financial gain by participants in the scheme was minuscule.
"They didn't make lunch money," Moore said, but he added, "We
pretty much knew they were going to hold out Flitcher as the main
cog in the wheel."
Ann M. Warr, a former 15-year employee of City Court, received a
three-year term of probation for accepting money to falsely record
completion of community service by people convicted for a variety
"You got $200 for all of this," Brady told the 58-year-old
Baton Rouge resident.
"Look at what it's costing you. You have lost your job. This is
out of the norm for you."
Edward C. "Pooh" James, 66, a former chief investigator for
the Barse Rouge Public Defender's Office, was sentenced to 20
months in prison.
Amundson described James as a man who worked hand-in-hand with
Bell in the bribery scheme.
Brady ordered James to report to prison on Oct. 4.
Former Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Darrell Johnson, 48, of Bueche,
was sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $6,000 for accepting
Amundson told the judge that Johnson "is extremely
remorseful," but added that Johnson "tarnished the badge."
Brady ordered Johnson to report to prison Sept. 20.
Samuel L. Wilson Sr., 63, of Baton Rouge, was placed on three
years of probation over Amundson's objections.
Wilson was not employed in the court system, but became the
scheme's most prolific bribe solicitor, Amundson argued. The
prosecutor added that Wilson provided "zero cooperation" and
asked that he be sent to prison.
Koveria D. Williams, 44, of Denham Springs, also admitted to
parahcipation in the bribery scheme.
Williams was sentenced to three years of probation, but Brady
said the first six months must be served in a halfway house.
Evelyn J. Holden, 53-year-old sister of Mayor-President Kip
Holden, was sentenced to three years of supervision for
participating in the scheme while working in the records department
of the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court Office.
Kip Holden attended the sentencing hearing and said later: "She
committed a crime. You have to pay a price when you commit a