Prosecutors offer deal to pastor who defied COVID rules

Louisiana News

Pastor Tony Spell speaks to media after holding an evening service at Life Tabernacle Church in Central, La., Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Spell is facing misdemeanor charges for holding services previously despite a ban on gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A plea deal has been offered to a Louisiana pastor who was arrested after repeatedly defying COVID-19 restrictions in the pandemic’s early days.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore told multiple news agencies Monday that the deal would allow Pastor Tony Spell to plead no contest to one of the misdemeanor charges he faces.

In exchange, five other charges would be dropped. Spell was arrested last year on six counts.

Spell’s attorney says his client is awaiting a court opinion before considering the plea offer.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing the constitutionality of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ previous order limiting crowd sizes to 10 people.

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