The EPA agent fired and indicted recently on perjury and obstruction of justice charges can keep most of his guns and enjoy a hunting trip with his son in September while awaiting trial.
Agent Keith Phillips, a Dallas EPA agent who joined New Orleans FBI agent Ekko Barnhill in a three-year investigation of then Canal Refinery manager Hubert Vidrine, reportedly lied under oath in a 2008 deposition when he denied having a sexual relationship with his joint investigator Barnhill.
Phillips’ deposition in the civil trial filed by Vidrine against the federal government led to his termination and federal indictment, which was handed down at the end of July. The former government agent pleaded not guilty Thursday morning when he appeared in federal court before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna.
Vidrine’s lawsuit charges that the extra-marital affair between Phillips and Barnhill prompted the agents to pursue a years long meritless and wrongful prosecution against Vidrine for criminal environmental charges, charges that were eventually dropped. The affair, according to Vidrine’s suit, sparked a need for Phillips to have a reason to travel regularly from Dallas to New Orleans.
Judge Hanna ruled Thursday that Phillips will not be detained while awaiting trial and told Phillips he could keep most of his firearms, except for one handgun, though protocol typically bars persons under federal indictment from possessing any firearms.
Speaking to a lawyer inside the courtroom before his arraignment began, Phillips said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be going through this. It happened 12 or 13 years ago. The hardest thing about all of it is the unknown.”
Vidrine is seeking more than $5 million in lost income, lost earning capacity, legal costs to defend prosecution, damage to he and his wife’s reputations, emotional distress, humiliation and loss of consortium.
Vidrine’s civil case went to trial before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in June. According to the indictment, Phillips’ 20 years of employment with the EPA ended on July 26, a month after Vidrine’s civil suit was heard. Doherty has not yet ruled on the civil lawsuit.
Read more on Vidrine’s civil lawsuit against the federal government here.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a district court ruling out of Opelousas that could have wide-ranging effects on the tax burden of the Louisiana oil and gas industry.
Chitimacha Tribe celebrates humble beginnings to becoming Louisiana's first land-based casino.
Lafayette businessman Mike Moreno’s Green Field Energy Services announced Tuesday a plan to sell the business and assets as part of its bankruptcy reorganization effort.
Last month, 19,629 passengers boarded planes at the airport, and another 19,627 passengers deplaned, also the highest number on record for the month, according to the airport’s figures released Wednesday.
A legal tug-of-war continues in a state levee board's lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies over the erosion of wetlands.
A former BP drilling engineer was convicted Wednesday of deleting text messages from his cellphone to obstruct a federal investigation of the company's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In Louisiana's latest tax amnesty period, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration added a new twist, letting companies settle their back-owed taxes with unused tax credits, instead of paying cash.
The lawsuit filed in New Orleans alleges that more than half the Social Security numbers on Mikal Watts’ client list were fake — either dummy numbers or numbers belonging to someone else, living or dead.
Industry veteran named GM and CEO of Cypress Bayou's casino and hotel operations.
The IND's directory, the most comprehensive in the market, includes health clubs, gyms, health and sports drinks, medical fitness facilities, and studios and classes to keep you healthy and fit in the new year.
More local companies expected to take advantage of economic boom.
The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates $800 million of sales tax revenue annually in Louisiana is not collected and remitted by internet vendors.
State Treasurer John Kennedy argues in a new op-ed emailed to media Tuesday that, with an anticipated $100 million surplus from the last fiscal year, Louisiana should invest the funds in I-49 South.
The Supreme Court won't decide if the Obama administration violated a judge's order that struck down its temporary moratorium on deep water drilling after BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Friday LOGA filed suit against Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell, claiming he illegally approved a New Orleans flood protection board’s contract with lawyers suing 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies for damaging the state's coast.
The major deals that shaped the business scene this year.
Far from an overnight success, ABiz Entrepreneur of the Year Lenny Lemoine helped build a successful construction company the old-fashioned way: through hard work, determination and cultivating relationships.
Recent hires, promotions and news from the world of Acadiana business
From a chili cook-off to author Scott Turow to honoring Acadiana's top philanthropists
Local optometrist transforms Oil Center space.
Third quarter EPI bests second quarter 2013 and comparable quarter last year.
You might want to think twice before sending a text to someone you know is driving and likely to read it immediately.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate Lafayette businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue in the city and parish, and hopefully it will spark some serious discussions about our pressing needs.
Amount generated by the state’s 2013 tax amnesty program, more than double some estimates
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased to 1,782.