Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and Wife Back in Court Thursday
by Keith Burton - GCN 2/18/09
Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and his wife Laura will be returning to federal court Thursday for what is called a pretrial hearing. Attorneys for the Warrs are expected to ask Judge John Roper to approve a motion requesting that prosecutors turn over a Bill of Particulars that outline the specifics on the fraud issues charged against them.
(GCN Photo right: Laura and Brent Warr January 28)
January 28th, the Warrs received a 16 count indictment for Katrina fraud after a year-long investigation by the government over the Warr's receipt of a Katrina Homeowner Grant from the Mississippi Development Authority. The indictment also included charges that the couple allegedly committed insurance fraud involving their home. The indictment charges that the Warr's primary residence was not the home just off U.S. 90 in Gulfport, a requirement of the grant program.
The Warrs have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The couple is represented by different attorneys. Brent Warr is represented by Gulfport attorney Joe Sam Owen, while Laura Warr is represented by Jackson attorney Frank Trapp. Both attorneys are requesting the Bill of Particulars from federal prosecutors.
The trial is current scheduled to begin April 6, however it is possible that the date could be moved back.
Update: 2/2/09 - A federal sealed indictment against the Warrs was issued November 6, 2008. That indictment was sealed to provide investigations additional time on the investigation. The initial indictment had 11 counts. The indictment that was opened in court January 28, 2009 has 16 counts. The additional counts deal with a matter of insurance fraud alleged in the most recent indictment, charges that were absent in the first indictment.
Update: 2/9/09 - Laura Warr has selected a separate attorney to represent her in the Katrina fraud case. It is attorney Frank Trapp of Jackson. During the initial appearance of Laura and her husband Brent Warr, the couple were represented by Gulfport Attorney Joe Sam Owen. At that time, Owen told the judge that Laura Warr would be later represented by another attorney to avoid any conflict of interest.
Federal Warr Indictment Jan. 28, 2009- .pdf file