Opening statement starting Thursday in Jonesboro mayor trial - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Update: Jonesboro mayor trial now underway

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JONESBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News UPDATE) - The jury is now seated and testimony is expected to begin Thursday in the trial of Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson.

KNOE's Nolan Crane reports a march supporting the mayor, as he walked into the courthouse, was delayed Thursday morning after comments circulated that some of the marchers might be armed. However, those claims were never substantiated and the start of the morning and the support march were peaceful. Our Nolan Crane does report a heavy law enforcement presence at the court house this Thursday morning.

About 20 witnesses are expected to testify, they have all taken an oath to not discuss the proceedings until the case ends. The jury is comprised of three men and three women. Thompson is facing malfeasance charges.

Previous Report:

JONESBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Jonesboro Town Attorney Doug Stokes is expecting questions about the local government's overdue bills, contract bid laws, and even the rules about the town car Mayor Leslie Thompson drives.

"Throughout this process we have taken his advice every step of the way. To have him there in court is very, very critical to us,"Thompson said.

Thompson agrees with the unanimous decision from the Board of Alderman to allow him to discuss advice given to town leaders.

A parish judge has yet to rule on whether the town lawyer will be on the stand.

"I didn't know there was a conflict of interest of his ability to speak up for me without bringing it before the council," Thompson said.

Thompson's attorney tried two times before to subpoena Stokes. But since the town lawyer also serves as the assistant D.A., there are more doors to open before a judge can give a thumbs up for stokes to answer questions during the trial.

While in court, Thompson is concerned about his role as mayor.

The town attorney informed him and the board, the mayor pro-temp can take the mayor's place at a meeting or even make an emergency decision if Thompson is unable to attend. That person is Alderman Devin Flowers.He's also getting a key endorsement if the mayor is found guilty of a felony charge.

"Councilman Flowers is the kind of guy who I would want to take care of business in the event of my absence," Thompson said.

A felony conviction means the mayor is suspended without pay. The board can appoint either the mayor pro-temp or anyone else in the town to serve as mayor during that time.

Opening statement begin Thursday.

 

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