Prosecutors challenge magistrate’s ruling in Warrs case

GULFPORT — Federal prosecutors are asking Judge Walter J. Gex to overturn a magistrate judge’s decision giving Brent and Laura Warr additional information about the Katrina fraud charges against them.

Magistrate Judge John M. Roper decided in a recent hearing that the mayor and his wife are entitled to know the “categories” of information they allegedly falsified for their beachfront house, such as repairs, living expenses or personal property destruction.

Roper also ordered the U.S. Attorney’s Office to turn over to the Warrs a list of alleged “co-conspirators” 30 days before their trial. Prosecutors continue to maintain those names should be revealed in a witness list due five days before the Sept. 8 trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams filed a motion earlier this week asking Gex, who will preside over the trial, to set aside Roper’s decisions.

“Defendants know where they were living, know what happened before and after Katrina, and know what if any damage and needs they had,” Williams’ wrote. “What they do not know is how much the Government can prove about those facts.”

Prosecutors contend the Warrs were living in a rental home when Katrina hit, while the beach house they claimed as their primary residence was under renovation.

Sun-Herald 4/3/9