Two Caddo Parish judges continued their trial in federal court on racketeering charges today (Friday). Judge Michael Walker and Judge Vernon Claville are charged with taking bribes from A-1 bail bond employee, Travis McCullough. The U.S. Attorney's office says McCullough, who was arrested, agreed to cooperate with the feds. McCulough reportedly wore a wire during one of his meetings with Walker. A recording of that meeting was played in court today, and a voice identified as Walker's could be heard talking on the phone and ordering someone at Caddo Correctional Center to lower a $20,000 dollar bond to $3500. Prosecutors say Walker ordered that reduction because he had been paid off by McCullough, who was reportedly a personal friend of both judges for several years.
The lead case agent for the FBI, J.T. Coleman testified that on July 12th, 2007 McCullough was arrested on a federal warrant. Coleman said that McCullough was told he was in a lot of trouble because he was found with marijuana, and some prescription medication. Coleman told the jury that McCullough also had a prior drug conviction and that he faced a lot of time in jail as a result of the two drug related incidents. Agents also reportedly threatened to arrest his ex-wife and his daughter for illegal activity, he said because of those factors McCullough cooperated.
The prosecution and defense have spent several days discussing the evidence, which includes phonetapped conversations, video surveillance, still- framed pictures of that surviellance, and two reciept books from A-1 Bail Bond taken during a raid of the business.
The trial will continue on Monday, and is expected to last all week.
Story by Fred Childers