Louisiana Sergeant Pleads Guilty in Perjury Case

A Mandeville police sergeant pleaded guilty to perjury in a St. Tammany courtroom on Friday, just days before he was to go to trial.


NEW ORLEANS --

A Mandeville police sergeant pleaded guilty to perjury in a St. Tammany courtroom on Friday, just days before he was to go to trial.

The State Attorney's Office said Sgt. David Hurstell's guilty plea sends a message heard beyond the city of Mandeville.

"Somebody's got to say, 'This isn't right, and we are going to do something about it,'" said Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell.

State prosecutors said that former Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price called Hurstell in 2006, seeking special treatment for his businessman friend, Gary Copp.

Authorities said an incident that night had led to the arrest of Copp, who was later convicted of second-degree battery.

"We took a certain amount of heat when this case was brought, and I think today, that's been vindicated by the fact that David Hurstell will no longer be a police officer and Eddie Price is in prison," Assistant Attorney General Butch Wilson said.

Mandeville Police Chief Rick Richard said he was concerned a trial would hurt his department.

"It is what it is and those that (don't tell the truth), like I said, it stains the badge of those who do," Richard said. "This would have opened old wounds, and we may have been right back where we started."

Price, who is already serving unrelated federal time in Leavenworth, has already pleaded guilty to a similar charge, authorities said.

Police officials said Hurstell tendered his resignation to the Mandeville Police Department by phone immediately after Friday's court proceedings.

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