Port Allen Police Chief Fred Smith will not be tried Monday on federal charges of racketeering, wire fraud and mail fraud.
U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson postponed the trial until Oct. 18. The Tuesday postponement occurred after a prosecutor reported a family member is undergoing treatment for a life-threatening illness.
Smith is accused of accepting $3,200 in cash bribes from corrupt officials of a start-up garbage-can-cleaning service. The company, Cifer 5000, turned out to be part of an FBI sting operation. The corrupt officials actually were undercover FBI agents.
Smith is alleged to have written a letter seeking lenient treatment for a Connecticut drug defendant for the “corrupt businessmen.” He also is alleged to have used confidential law enforcement databases to run background checks for the men. And he is accused of providing one of the men with an official police badge.
Former Port Allen Mayor Derek A. Lewis has pleaded guilty to related charges, as has former Councilman Johnny L. Johnson. Neither man has been sentenced. Both men agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
The FBI initiated the sting operation after receiving complaints several years ago that former St. Gabriel Mayor George L. Grace had solicited bribes from businessmen in Baton Rouge and Houston.
Like Smith, Grace has pleaded innocent to all charges. Grace is scheduled for trial in January.
Earlier this year, former White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown was convicted on racketeering and fraud charges that resulted from the same FBI sting.
White Castle Police Chief Mario Brown, the former mayor’s younger brother, was acquitted on all charges. Maurice Brown has not yet been sentenced.
Former New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson was convicted on related racketeering and fraud charges last month. Nelson has not yet been sentenced.