Former Gulfport mayor wants conviction vacated

The motion says Warr would have maintained his innocence had the U.S. Attorney’s Office given him all the information to which he was entitled, making his guilty plea involuntary and voiding his agreement not to contest the conviction.

He says federal prosecutors violated his Fifth Amendment right to due process. He also says he was selectively prosecuted because other recipients were allowed to keep payments under circumstances similar to his family’s.

Warr was ordered to serve three years’ probation when he entered his plea Sept. 25, 2009, and has repaid FEMA the $9,558 his family received in Katrina relief. In exchange, federal prosecutors dropped 19 other charges against him and dismissed all charges against his wife. Warr’s motion says he agreed to the guilty plea so the charges against his wife, Laura Warr, would be dropped.

The charges stemmed from federal prosecutors’ belief that the Warrs did not live in a beachfront home he had almost finished renovating when Katrina struck, but the Warrs have insisted they were almost moved in, he was staying there while finishing the work and it was their primary residence. The family received three payments from FEMA and a federal grant through MDA to help with reconstruction costs.

Sun Herald
9/25/12