By Patsy R. Brumfield
UPDATE 10:40 A.M.
TUPELO – Public defender Adam Pinkard met with Louis Aldridge about 30 minutes after Aldridge told a circuit judge he could not afford a private attorney.
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UPDATE 10:15 A.M.
TUPELO – The father of State Rep. Brian Aldridge of Tupelo today convinced a circuit judge he cannot afford to hire his own attorney.
Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner said, in that case, he will appoint one for him.
Brian, Louis and Janice Aldridge appeared before Gardner on grand jury indictments they illegally took money from a relative’s estate.
Gardner instructed Brian and his mother to return to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to add sureties, tangible collateral, to their $5,000 recognizance bonds.
Louis Aldridge told Gardner he is bankrupt, has no assets and cannot find a private attorney who will take his case.
“One said he wanted $50,000 – judge, I don’t have $50,000,” he said this morning.
Gardner also told them he scheduled their cases to come up during the October term of circuit court.
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TUPELO – State Rep. Brian Aldridge and his parents await hearings on formal charges against them today that they intentionally took money from a relative’s estate, without her permission.
The formerly married couple and their son are accused of illegally taking funds from bank accounts owned by Florence Aldridge, Louis’ widowed sister-in-law.
She gave Louis her legal power of attorney for several years while she was incapacitated and unable to make personal and financial decisions on her own.
Brian is charged with one count of grand larceny and his parents on multiple charges of embezzlement.The Republican member of the Mississippi House representing part of Lee County faces resignation if he’s convicted on the charge.
Louis Aldridge told the court today that he needed an attorney and filled out paper work for a public defender.
Stanley Alexander, director of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division, is here to prosecute the cases.
A civil lawsuit wrapped up in 2012 showed more than $522,000 gutted from Florence Aldridge’s estate. All the Aldridge defendants were ordered by Chancellor Michael Malski to repay her.
However, Louis and Janice declared bankruptcy and the legislator’s state salary is being garnished to assist the woman, now in a Pontotoc County nursing home.
If convicted, they face prison time and fines.
Scores of others are filling the downtown Tupelo courtroom to answer their indictments.
The August term of circuit court begins in about a week. The most recent indictments, such as the Aldridges’, are unlikely to be tried during this term.
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