Eric Paulsen / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - Aaron Broussard said while he may be broke, he is not a broken man.
On Sunday, he will leave for North Carolina to begin his near four year prison term after pleading guilty in federal court to conspiracy and theft charges.
For a man who was once a political powerhouse, his fall from grace has been humbling and he knows how history will judge him.
'If you're involved in a scandal, well then you wear the scarlet letter, not only the rest of your life but you wear it even in the grave. You are then the comparison. You are the footnote, the comparable. My fate will be to be the footnote, the comparable. 'Just like Broussard did' or 'Like Broussard did.' I'll be that reference for the rest of my life, and not any reference to anything I might have accomplished in my public life,' Broussard said.
Broussard said he made mistakes, but is not a crook, adding there was a reason he pled not guilty when first indicted.
But, when everyone else in the case surrounding him flipped and pled, Broussard took a plea deal. Other parish officials who were indicted by the feds (Broussard's ex-wife, former parish attorney Tom Wilkinson and former parish CAO Tim Whitmer) were all given probation. Broussard was sentenced to 46 months after his plea.
'I think it's a blessing that those people have a head start on a new future and a new life,' Broussard said when asked if the sentencing was fair. 'That they actually get to stay in place and rebuild themselves, I think it's a blessing. I think it's good fortune, and I don't look at it in comparison to me. I have my own path that I have to take. I'm ready to take it. I take it humbly. I take it in a contrite fashion. I'm sorry for everything that led me to separate me from my family at a critical time. But, I will take this opportunity and reinvent myself and come out a better person.'
Broussard will spend the rest of the week tending to his affairs and spending time with family and friends.
He is optimistic about the future, will continue to fight his prostate cancer and said he will use his time behind bars to better his life, and come out on the other side a changed man.