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UPDATE: Defense Rests in Jonesboro Mayor Trial

Defense attorneys in the Jonesboro Mayor trial have rested and closing arguments are set to begin Wednesday morning.
JONESBORO -- The trial for Jonesboro mayor Leslie Thompson is quickly winding down, ever closer to the finale.

"We just want to,you know, bring some resolution to this case," said defense attorney Carol Powell Lexing.

This week, the defense called up all nine of their witnesses, far fewer than the 30 people subpoenaed.

"We initially subpoenaed 30 witnesses, we found out we didn't really need 30," said Lexing.

"Much of our evidence was submitted through cross examination of the state's witnesses and we even had the same witnesses," said defense attorney Louis Scott.

Mayor Leslie Thompson is facing three counts of malfeasance in office.

Tuesday,again, looked at one of Thompson's charges, state auditors accusing him of giving full-time benefits to part-time employees.

The town's human resource director testified she's considered a full-time employee with benefits -- she said if she didn't work 35 hours average...It was because she took leave time she was entitled to.

A former contracted clerk took the stand -- she was hired by state auditors to help get the town's transactions up-to-date.

She said she had trouble getting the town's clerk staff to understand the basics of new accounting software, Quickbooks, at one point.

She said many questions came up while making schedules and handling payroll. She said she asked many sources about the exact policy for full-time workers -- an ongoing topic in this trial.

She said, "No one could tell us from the state or the town -- they just kept saying 'consistently' 35 hours -- it was confusing for us."

She the mayor couldn't give her a solid answer on it, but neither could the state auditors. She said the full-time question she had was never cleared up. She did say the mayor was cooperative her throughout her time working for them.

Another witness -- town attorney and Jackson Parish Assistant District Attorney, Douglas Stokes, testified about a purchase agreement where the town sold land far below market value.

In court, the defense questioned Stokes about him automatically reducing the price, and not following requirements to take that adjustment to the town council for a vote.

On Wednesday, closing arguments begin.

"The jury will be charged, and then they'll deliberate, and life goes on," said Lexing.

It's unknown exactly how long it will take for the jury to deliberate, or exactly when a verdict will be reached.

"In Louisiana, we usually don't have very long deliberations, usually no more than hours -- unlike other places where you see them go on for weeks," said Scott.
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