Former Jonesboro mayor jailed with no bond - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Former Jonesboro mayor jailed with no bond

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Source: KNOE File Source: KNOE File

JONESBORO, La. (KNOE 8 News) KNOE 8 News has learned that recently convicted Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson has been arrested with no bond set.

Thompson was convicted earlier this month on three counts of malfeasance in office. The jury of six debated only a few hours before returning the guilty verdict. Thompson was free on bond pending a November sentencing, until Friday morning.

Earlier this week, the city council voted on a measure that would have made Thompson's wife mayor. However, that move was opposed by a recently appointed fiscal administrator.

View Court Order to hold Leslie Thompson without bail [requires a PDF Reader]

According to the court order obtained by KNOE:

Mayor Thompson was automatically suspended from public office upon conviction with the directive that he could no longer perform any public act. The order states that on 9/16/13 Thompson attended a town council meeting where he attempted to have his wife placed into the office of mayor. The order further states that the defendant continues efforts to control the community. Statements (Thompson) made saying his wife would be the right choice for the job, "clearly show Thompson's intention to remain in control of the town," according to Assistant District Attorney Lea Hall. Hall states in the order that actions made by the council to appoint Thompson's wife are an act of loyalty to the former mayor and pose an eminent danger to the operation of the community. The order indicates more arrests are possible and forthcoming. Assistant District Attorney Lea Hall has asked that no bond be set and for Thompson to remain jailed until sentencing in November.

Thompson will remain in jail at least through Monday, when a hearing is scheduled. KNOE 8 News has learned the recent jailing is connected to Thompson speaking out at a city council meeting regarding his wife being appointed to the mayor's seat.

The Jonesboro Board of Aldermen voted to appoint Yoshi Thompson as interim mayor, but the newly appointed Fiscal Administrator to the town, Ken Folden, opposed the move and said he couldn't allow Thompson's wife to take over as mayor.

Assistant Legislative Auditor Allen Brown says, "The fiscal administrator would have the authority to hire and fire, meaning the fiscal administrator would have the authority not to accept this individual."

According to Thompson's attorney, Carol Powell Lexing, the original appointment of the fiscal administrator was on July 24, 2012, and the law giving him the hire/fire authority wasn't enacted until August of 2013.

"He's trying to impede the town council from performing their duties, and I think he's got this thing twisted," says Lexing.

Mayor pro-tem Devin Flowers went to the clerk of court's office Wednesday in an attempt to have Yoshi Thompson sworn in, but was denied. Friday morning, Yoshi Thompson was sworn in as mayor in front of town hall by Monroe City Judge Tammy Lee.

The legislative auditor says Yoshi Thompson may have taken the oath, but Folden has already made the decision not to hire her, or pay her.

A hearing for Leslie Thompson has been set for Monday, September 23, at 9:30.

Previous Report:

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. 

Previous Report:

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.

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