Louisiana men plead not guilty to Mississippi prison bribery

October 16, 2018 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Four Louisiana men are pleading not guilty to charges that they tried to bribe a Mississippi sheriff with $2,000 in casino chips, seeking lucrative jail contracts.

Entering not guilty pleas in federal court in Jackson Tuesday were 70-year-old Michael LeBlanc Sr. of Baton Rouge, 40-year-old Michael LeBlanc Jr. of Prairieville, 59-year-old Tawasky Ventroy of Opelousas and 50-year-old Jacque Jones of LaPlace.

All are accused of scheming to win contracts to sell inmates phone service and commissary goods at a jail in Mississippi’s Kemper County. The indictment also says the men paid former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps $2,000 for help in getting contracts. Epps was convicted of taking more than $1.4 million in bribes.

All four men remain free on bail.

A judge set a Dec. 10 trial date.