New Orleans man accused in jury-bribery scheme pleads guilty _lowres

Casey Warren

A West Bank cocaine dealer who was accused of bribing a juror last August during a trial that ended with his acquittal on two charges and a hung jury on a third count pleaded guilty Wednesday to a variety of counts, including jury tampering, according to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office.

Casey Warren, 37, was handed a 13-year prison sentence.

He pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, obstruction of justice, jury tampering, false swearing and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, Cannizzaro’s office said.

The case against Julius “Big Man” Ford, a former Fat City bar bouncer who went straight only to get wrapped up in the jury-bribery scheme decades later, remains pending.

Casey Warren’s brother, Sean Patrick Warren, admitted hooking up with Ford, whom he recognized from the 1990s, in August while the juror was parked across Broad Street after a day of hearing evidence against Casey Warren over a 2011 cocaine and gun bust.

Ford followed Sean Warren to a daiquiri store on the West Bank, and Warren offered him $1,000 per jury vote for acquittal.

“I need three (jurors) for my brother to walk,” Sean Warren allegedly told him. “Hung jury.”

Sean Warren later cut a plea deal, implicating his younger brother and Ford in the alleged bribery scheme. He said he initially paid Ford $1,000, then gave him $2,000 more on Casey Warren’s behalf when the jury came back hung on a gun charge.

Ford denied taking any money or swaying the jury. But he acknowledged the meeting, saying he feared for his life, knowing Sean Warren as “bad news. If he don’t touch you, somebody will.”

The jury Ford sat on ended up acquitting Casey Warren on counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and public intimidation.

It was hung, 9-3, on a gun-possession count after Ford told other jurors, including a New Orleans police detective, about his run-in with Sean Warren.

On Wednesday, Casey Warren pleaded guilty as charged to all of the counts in two separate cases, including the jury-bribery case.

According to Cannizzaro’s office, the investigation into Casey Warren also revealed “a complex scheme to distribute cocaine.”

A new search warrant based on jail phone calls from Casey Warren to his wife and a man named Jerimiah Bonney uncovered high-tech drug paraphernalia, Cannizzaro’s office said.

Prosecutors filed an additional charge against Casey Warren, along with drug-conspiracy and cocaine-possession charges against Bonney.

The case against Bonney remains pending.

“The defendant continually attempted to subvert and molest the criminal justice process,” Cannizzaro said in a statement after Casey Warren’s guilty plea. “We, however, refused to be intimidated or dissuaded.”

Sean Warren, who said he broke with his drug-dealing brother to save his family and his business, Warren Refinishing, awaits sentencing.

Dwight Doskey, Casey Warren’s attorney, did not return a call for comment.