JONESBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson has been found guilty on all three counts of malfeasance in office. The verdict came less than two hours into deliberations by a jury of six. Our Nolan Crane was in an emotion filled courtroom and will have reaction to the verdict later today on KNOE.COM and on KNOE 8 News at 5p and 6p.
JONESBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Jury deliberations are underway in the malfeasance trial of Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson.
The six person jury began deliberations shortly before noon Wednesday, after closing arguments were presented in the case. Our Nolan Crane was in a very crowded Jonesboro courtroom and will have updates here at KNOE.COM and tonight on KNOE 8 News at 5p and 6p.
Defense attorneys have finished calling their witnesses to the stand to testify in Jonesboro. Mayor Leslie Thompson's fate is now in the hands of a six person jury. Our Nolan Crane has been in court since day one and he shows us what the last witnesses said under oath.
This court case has been going on for more than two weeks. Those involved were expecting it to go on for a lot longer because the defense starting calling their witnesses to the stand just yesterday.
"We initially subpoenaed 30 witnesses. We found out that we didn't really need 30," said Carol Powell Lexing.
Mayor Leslie Thompson's attorneys say they spent two days and they have covered all of their witnesses because they spent such a long time questioning the states witnesses and a lot of their information came out during cross examination.
"We even had some of the same witnesses so therefore, so therefore the questions we got from the states witness may also have been the question that we had in the first place," said Louis Scott.
The last witness to take the stand and testify in this case was Ms. Tonya wade. She is a CPA who the state legislative auditors hired to help the town of Jonesboro.
Mayor Thompson is charged with three felony counts of malfeasance in office. One of the counts stems from allegations that he used more than $50,000 of the town's money to pay full time benefits to six part time employees.
The defense argued that the six employees were in fact full time. Wade testified under oath that the town's policy was confusing.
Wade was also responsible for training town employees how to use software to complete financial documents which she testified were in disarray. There were hundreds of outstanding checks, and accounts didn't have the right balances.
Thompson's attorneys hope the jury does not place all of the town's problems on the mayor's shoulders. If convicted Thompson could spend up to 15 years in prison.