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Jury selection to begin for former Jasper church pastor’s case

July 19, 2017 GMT

A former executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments will be tried in federal count Monday along with his wife and daughter.

Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. in Lufkin and opening statements are expected to be heard by the afternoon, according to Chief District Judge Ron Clark.

According to a 2015 federal indictment, Walter Diggles took a part of $4.4 million that DETCOG received in Social Service Block Grant funding from 2007 to 2012 and funneled it to Lighthouse Church in Jasper for his family’s own personal use. Diggles was a pastor at the church. The government seeks the forfeiture of $1.3 million, which approximates the amount of the Diggles’ theft, according to the indictment.

Diggles is charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft from a program that receives federal funding and three counts of money laundering. He retired from DETCOG in January 2016 amid the federal charges. Former Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt replaced him six months later. Rosie Diggles, his wife, is charged with 10 counts, including nine counts of wire fraud. Their daughter, Anita Diggles, faces one conspiracy charge.