Former New Roads Mayor T. A. ?Tommy? Nelson told a National Conference of Mayors executive a year ago that $20,000 he received from a garbage-can cleaning company was a retainer for his law firm, the woman testified Thursday in Baton Rouge federal court.
Vanessa Williams, executive director of the conference, also told jurors in Nelson’s public corruption trial that he failed to tell her he was not licensed to practice law.
Williams testified that Nelson denied accepting bribes from CIFER 5000, which turned out to be a fictional company used by the FBI in an sting operation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Jefferson then read a stipulation signed by prosecutors and Nelson.
That stipulation states that Nelson ?has never been licensed to practice law in the state of Louisiana.?
On Tuesday, Jefferson asked the jury of five women and seven men to remember: ?Mr. Nelson is no dummy.?
Jefferson noted that Nelson, 41, possesses bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees.
?Tommy Nelson is an educated man,? the prosecutor repeated.
The sting operation, dubbed ?Operation Blighted Officials,? was conducted by undercover FBI agents and a paid undercover operative posing as corrupt executives. It resulted in felony charges against Nelson and six other officials in three other Baton Rouge-area municipalities.
Nelson is accused of accepting cash, hotel stays and tickets to professional sports events to promote Cifer 5000 to people he thought were potential investors and others.
Last year, former Port Allen City Councilman Johnny L. Johnson Sr. pleaded guilty to racketeering and bribery charges resulting from the FBI sting, known as Operation Blighted Officials.
Former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown was convicted on felony charges March 3. But his younger brother, current White Castle Police Chief Mario Brown, was acquitted on all counts.
Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis and Port Allen Police Chief Fred Smith are scheduled for trial on similar charges July 25.
St. Gabriel Mayor George L. Grace is scheduled for trial Jan. 23.