Coast businessman Scott Walker is requesting a separate trial on corruption charges because he says he could be incriminated by a statement his codefendant, former D’Iberville City Manager Michael Janus, made to the FBI.

Without City Council approval, Janus reportedly told the FBI agents he agreed to give Walker a contract with a 6 percent consulting fee to land a $3 million grant for D’Iberville. At the same time in 2011, Walker and Janus owned JaWa Investments LLC.

Walker’s motion for a separate trial quotes a report FBI agents wrote after Janus gave them a statement one year ago: “Janus admitted that he and Walker discussed in advance to the contract that when Walker received his consulting fee, then Walker would transfer money to the JAWA account and they could invest the money in the Columns Bar” in Biloxi through a second limited liability company.

“Janus stated he knew he was receiving a monetary benefit and knew it was wrong,” according to the FBI report. Janus became very upset during the interview and said he was “stating that Walker had gotten him into the deal.”

Walker argues the statement could jeopardize his right to a fair trial. The statement could be admitted at trial against Janus, Walker’s motion says, but would be considered inadmissible hearsay where Walker is concerned. If Janus does not testify at trial, Walker’s motion says, Walker will have no chance to cross-examine Janus about his statement.

Walker’s attorney, Arthur Madden of Mobile, wants U.S. District Court Judge Keith Starrett to review all statements Janus made to the government that might be introduced at trial and order separate trials if Walker will be incriminated.

Walker and Janus are scheduled to be tried together March 10 on five charges each: conspiracy to defraud the federal government, fraud, bribery and two counts of money laundering. The charges involve the $180,000 consulting fee Janus allegedly arranged for Walker.

SunHerald
1/28/14