Ex-judge who admitted bribery resigns law license

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former St. Bernard Parish judge who pleaded guilty in a bribery scheme has permanently resigned his law license rather than face judicial discipline, the Louisiana Supreme Court said Friday.

Its order said Wayne G. Cresap had asked the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel to let him do so, and the office backed his request.

Cresap resigned from the St. Bernard Parish bench in October, when he and attorneys Victor Dauterive and Nunzio Salvadore Cusimano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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Prosecutors said they took a total of up to $150,000 in kickbacks disguised as attorneys’ fees to let nearly 100 inmates out of jail without paying bond. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has said he does not believe any of the prisoners had committed violent crimes.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon has scheduled sentencing April 22. Each could get up to five years in prison and $250,000 fines.

Dauterive gave up his law license earlier this month. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel has filed charges seeking Cusimano’s disbarment.

A formal charge filed in July said Cresap took cash to convert bonds secured by money or property into personal surety bonds needing only an agreement to pay if the defendant fled.

The lawyers took cash from the inmate’s family or friends, then split the money with Cresap, according to the charges.