NEW ORLEANS - Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard reports Monday to a federal prison in North Carolina, to begin a 46-month prison term after pleading guilty to federal conspiracy and theft charges.
The once-powerful parish president admitted that, for the most part, he is now financially broke.
“I’m broke but I'm not broken,” Broussard said. “There’s an analogy of life that you’re running this race of life, you fall down. We all fall down, but you shouldn’t ponder at the spot that you fell, you shouldn’t labor too long where you fell. You need to get up and keep running.”
Broussard owes more than a quarter million dollars in fines, restitution and alimony to his ex-wife, Karen Parker, who was indicted along with him, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation.
Broussard says he is at peace and ready to face prison, using it as an opportunity to make big changes in his life. He is also battling skin and prostate cancer.
During an interview with Eyewitness News earlier this week, Broussard was asked what went through his mind when he heard Judge Hayden Head Jr. read his nearly four-year prison sentence in court on Feb. 25.
“What I actually heard was a judge that was very knowledgeable about the sentencing guidelines, and so what I actually heard was a judge that was contesting the math of what the prosecutors had put in the pre-sentence investigation. So actually what I was hearing, I felt, was merciful.”
We asked how Broussard felt toward prosecutors in former U.S. Attorney’s Jim Letten’s office, who had pushed for a stiffer sentence for the ex-parish official.
“You know, there’s things I will never know in my life. There’s circumstances and situations and what people’s motives were, I may never know,” he said. “But I can tell you this: I don’t go to where I’m going as an angry man, as a resentful man. If I was going into prison as an angry man, as opposed to a forgiving man, then I would be a prisoner in my own mind, regardless of whether I was in prison or not.”
Broussard says there are still many things about his case that he cannot discuss, but believes the time will come when the full story of his case will be told. Until then, he says he'll fight his cancer, keep his faith, and hopes to come out of jail a changed man.