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|Coenen hearing delayed until August|
Fifth District Attorney Billy Coenen will have to wait until August to enter his plea on federal corruption and fraud charges since a hearing scheduled for Monday morning at U.S. District Court in Monroe was reset.
Coenen was scheduled to appear in court where he was expected to enter a not guilty plea. However, that appearance was rescheduled at the last minute to Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. for the same courtroom at federal court in downtown Monroe. Codefendants Mike Thompson and Monroe engineer Terry Denmon are scheduled to appear Aug. 8 in federal court, too.
No reason was given for resetting the hearing.
Coenen, Thompson and Denmon are each under indictment on five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy each stemming from a months-long investigation into a land deal at Poverty Point in Richland Parish.
According to the indictment unsealed last month, the three partnered to buy land in the reservoir district and proceeded to utilize taxpayer funds to improve the land before selling it for a profit.
Since the three men all worked in some capacity for the Poverty Point Reservoir District, they used a letter of nomination to mask the deal from the public, according to federal prosecutors.
Thompson was the reservoir district executive director. Coenen served as an attorney for the district and Denmon performed civil engineering tasks related to lake at Poverty Point.
Since the indictments were announced, Coenen has been re-elected with opposition to a sixth term as 5th Judicial District Attorney. The 5th JDC is comprised of Franklin, Richland and West Carroll parishes.