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The bail bondsman and the judges

Louis Marcotte III, the bail bonds mogul whose ties to Jefferson Parish judges sparked a 4 -year federal investigation of courthouse corruption, has agreed with prosecutors to plead guilty to an expansive racketeering charge implicating several judges, defense attorneys monitoring the inquiry said Friday.

They said Marcotte signed an agreement with the government to confess to a charge under the powerful Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, known as RICO, and to cooperate with the investigation at the 24th District Court in Gretna. Marcotte would face what one source called "a substantial" prison term.

Court observers said a plea from Marcotte would give the government its biggest break so far in an investigation that already has netted ex-Judge Ronald Bodenheimer and five other defendants, because Marcotte is in a position to testify against more judges.

"This is a typical wheel-and-spoke conspiracy," said Shaun Clarke, a former federal prosecutor. "Marcotte is at the center of the wheel, while Bodenheimer was just a spoke. This is definitely the largest break in the case." -- Bail bondsman to enter guilty plea on RICO charge (New Orleans Times-Picayune)