HINGLE PLEADS “NOT GUILTY”Oct 19th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: top story
Former Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Jiff Hingle pleaded not guilty to a felony charge on Friday, October 14, one week after allegations of corruption became official.
Hingle has entered his plea to the charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bribery, as detailed in the Bill of Information released by the U.S. Attorneys Office, and signed by United States Attorney Jim Letten, on October 5.
Hingle had previously announced he would not seek another term of office, after holding the position of Plaquemines Parish Sheriff for nearly 20-years (1992-2011). After the U.S. Attorney filed the Bill of Information on Hingle for felony charges, Hingle stepped down from the Sheriff position, and has now been replaced with Sheriff Michael Lafrance.
The U.S. Attorneys Office also filed a Bill of Information on Aaron Bennet, owner of Benetech LLC. Bennet was accused of bribing Hingle with tens of thousands of dollars to gain leverage or preference in Hingle’s decisions on Plaquemines Parish contracts.
Bennet entered a plea to his charges as well, but it is still unclear how much Bennet is cooperating with the investigation. Hingle is expected to cooperate with authorities, and may eventually change his plea to guilty as part of the investigation.
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission had said that he expected the pair to cooperate with the investigation, as it was likely the only way to mitigate any sentence for the charges.
“We’ll just have to wait to see how it unfolds,” Goyeneche said.