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UPDATE: Brizzi lieutenant agrees to guilty plea in bribery case

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The top deputy under former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge for his role in the early release of a woman convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced an indictment against David Wyser Monday afternoon in Indianapolis. Wyser received one charge of bribery, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

"For too long people in this city have had reason to doubt their government," U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said at the Monday press conference. "Justice is not for sale."

Wyser, 53, has agreed to cooperate with authorities as they continue an investigation led by the FBI, federal officials said. Brizzi is a target, according to IBJ sources, but has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing.

Wyser, who was Brizzi's chief trial deputy, in 2010 ran an unsuccessful race for Hamilton County prosecutor after Brizzi opted against running for a third term in Marion County. Wyser has since served as a deputy prosecutor in Madison County.

The case against Wyser centers around the early release of Paula Willoughby, who had been convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme. Her father, Harrison Epperly, made large political contributions to Brizzi and Wyser as their office was considering a potential sentence modification.

Willoughby was sentenced to 110 years in prison in 1991 after her husband was gunned down outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An appeal shrank the sentence to 70 years. The modification cut it to time served, and Willoughby was freed in July 2009.

Epperly gave at least $29,000 to Brizzi from 2006 to 2008, and also donated $2,500 to Wyser. The latter came in 2009, before the filing of the sentence modification in court.

The charging document alleges that a $2,500 contribution to Wyser was "a reward for his sentence modification recommendation" in the Willoughby case.

Both Brizzi and Wyser later returned their donations, many of which came through Epperly’s company EMSP LLC.

At the time, Wyser told IBJ newsgathering partner WXIN Fox59 that the donations had no role in the modification, which he argued was justified based on Willoughby’s rehabilitation and family issues. One of Willoughby’s sons had been killed by a drunken driver in 2005, leaving another son with no immediate family members other than his imprisoned mother.

Current Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry on Monday morning declined to comment on Wyser and any charges brought against him.

Hogsett declined to comment when asked about Brizzi during the Monday press conference.

This story has been updated.

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  • Awww...really?
    In Indiana, a statute gives prosecutors a veto power over sentence modifications starting one year after sentencing, so the prosecutor's power trumps the judge's. To my knowledge, Brizzi only consented to the modification of two sentences during his entire career, and both of them gave him a bunch of money. But,of course, I am sure that is just coincidence. I am sure that only two people deserved mercy. So, corruption? Nah. Not a chance.
  • Why?
    Why would Wyser put his neck out on almost everyone of these deals for Brizzi? I understand they are arrogant but, Wyser has been ignorant in this if there was not more money exchanged. I know his mere appearance in court on some of these cases sparked the curiosity of other attorneys who were distantly involved. I am very interested in seeing exactly what Page and Wyser implicate their "friend" Brizzi in. It seems as if it will go much deeper than a couple of cases. How interesting it would be right now to be a fly on Brizzi's wall. I can't think of a more deserving group of individuals.
  • Hmmm...
    I can't decide which is a bigger crime, the fact that 1) it takes Greg Andrews and Cory Schouten to do the jobs of the feds, 2) that the feds get their evidence from reading these message boards 3) that the criminals get their headsup on what the latest we have dug up is by reading these message boards 4) that both Wyser and Brizzi still have law licenses 5) he fact that everyone's yapping about Carl cutting deals when Joe's predecessor Timmydon'tlookatthatallegedstuffonmycomputer MORONSON let go of that asset freeze against Carl's BFF so which attorney at Barnes and Thorny could allegedly get paid? YEAH, Joey baby, u is really cleaning up da CashRuption...
  • Tell Me It Ain't So, Joe
    Hogsett. So why won't Joe comment on Brizzi? More to come?
    • huh?
      wide brush how? in my opinion i felt Brizzi was a very arrogant person who involved himself in some questionable dealings for a public figure. the fact the man is pleading guilty makes me think that there is a plea in the works for him to testify. The guy was involved in this as well, letting a murderer loose while the father donates money...not a smart move. plus his buddy Timmy says a lot. hey, maybe i am wrong, but in the end i feel he is the man they are going after.
    • Ha ha
      That's an awfully wide brush you're wielding, Mikey.
      • A joke
        Are you kidding me? You can be convicted and sentenced to 110 years for a murder for hire case (your spouse no less) and get out of jail 80 years early for the price of a Honda Accord?
      • Hangmans noose
        Looks like SOMEONE really has been getting stalked--by the Feds! Karma karma karma
      • Corruption knows no party
        This is one conservative who is glad to watch the slow wheels of human justice and divine judgment click into alignment. Republicans like Wyser and Brizzi simply make it hard, if not impossible, for honest Republicans to continue to support or identify with that party. They are corrupt, they are criminal, they deserve the public demolition they are getting, as they were the ultimate authors of their problems. They will be inextricably linked to a murderer who had her husband killed and made orphans of her own kids. That is the class of people they are. Sympathy for these devils is better reserved for more worthy individuals.
        • Equal Opportunity
          Hey Tiredofitall: I think Democratic City-County Councilor Paul Bateman, who was charged by Hogsett and will be sentenced next week, probably has a different view of things.
        • Tiredofitall = moron
          and political corruption isn't a big deal to you? but i'm sure you are creating an uproar over the Benghazi incident huh? don't blame this on hating Republicans, it's republicans fault they are corrupt and unethical when it comes to business dealings and political corruption.
          • Time better spent
            When will these politically motivated attacks end? We get it Joe, you're a Democrat, as former chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, you don't like Republicans. Doesn’t Indiana, and the rest of the country, have some more serious, current, crime related issues for you to concentrate on? Of course, with an Attorney General like Eric Holder as an example, I don’t expect a very high standard.
            • Memo to CH. 8 WISH TV
              This brings to mind a recent short-lived but puzzling episode when suddenly, aforementioned former prosecutor had a l5 minute moment of fame as "consultant" to local TV news show....always wondered why at the time local media did not pick up on and question it...especially since it was a longtime truly responsible local station. But out of the blue said CB brushed off questions from other TV stations about a then-current case--saying he was "exclusive" with a single station--and episodically appeared as the station's "consultant/" There were always enough questionable things about him that made one wonder "why"? Anybody know?
            • Victory
              Yes! It's about time that someone found something to charge this man with. Long overdue.
            • Oh Carl....
              Carl Carl Carl....your time is quickly approaching to all the corruption you were involved in. This is probably just a ploy to get more people to testify against you. your arrogance in the end will be then end of you (and i cannot wait). maybe if you are lucky you and Timmy can share cells and possibly have your Playboy D-list celebrity parties.

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