NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former Louisiana lawmaker asked Monday to remain free on bond while she petitions the U.S. Supreme Court to review her conviction in a plot to steal more than $1 million from taxpayer-funded charities.
Last month, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld former state Rep. Renee Gill Pratt’s conviction but vacated her sentence. In a court filing Monday, her attorney asked U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle to refrain from resentencing Gill Pratt while she asks the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Lemelle sentenced Gill Pratt to more than seven years in prison following her 2011 conviction for conspiring with relatives of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson to pocket money earmarked for charitable and educational programs.
The 5th Circuit ruled that Lemelle sentenced Gill Pratt using guidelines based on money laundering when it “appears” that he should have based them on mail fraud.
Gill Pratt’s attorney, Michael Fawer, argues that her case is a “strong candidate” for Supreme Court review. He argues that the 5th Circuit’s decision to uphold her conviction isn’t consistent with the high court’s precedent and conflicts with other circuits’ opinions.
“This criminal prosecution has been devastating in its impact upon Gill Pratt and her family, emotionally, financially, and professionally, and is something she certainly has no wish to prolong,” Fawer wrote. “However, she also has no desire to begin serving a prison sentence for a conviction that is subject to reversal.”