MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) A federal jury found Bayou La Batre Mayor Stan Wright guilty on all four counts Friday afternoon.
Wright faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of intimidating a witness and retaliating against a witness, up to 10 years on the charge of theft from a federally funded program and there's a five-year maximum on the conspiracy count.
When the verdict was read in court, Stan Wright kept a blank stare, showing little emotion.
As Stan Wright entered the federal courtroom earlier Friday afternoon, he confidently told reporters that he believed the jury would return with a non-guilty verdict.
But after only deliberating for 90 minutes, the jury proved him wrong, finding him guilty of four federal corruption charges. Wright left the courthouse through the back, avoiding reporters. Defense Attorney Arthur Madden said they'll likely appeal.
"Of course I'm disappointed," said Madden quietly as he left the courthouse.
"You saw the witnesses. These are people in government, on the city council. The message is when you see corruption, report it, don't just let it go on," said Assistant U.S. Attorney George May.
Prosecutors said during the trial Wright misused FEMA money after Hurricane Katrina. Then, he retaliated against former police captain Darryl Wilson after Wilson reported the crime to the FBI.
"My husband has been through a living hell. He has suffered emotionally and financially," said Cindy Wilson.
"This case is personal because I'm a victim and the bottom line today is that the jury spoke, justice has been served and the main thing is the citizens of Bayou La Batre now have a chance to move forward," said Darryl Wilson.
The judge set the sentencing hearing for June 28th.
U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose denied a prosecution request to send Wright immediately to jail.
Friday's decision marks the end of Wright's political career.
District Attorney Ashley Rich says the long-standing bayou mayor must resign or she will present a bill of impeachment.