A former police sergeant admitted on Friday that he helped cover up the fatal police shootings of two people in the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina, ending a criminal case that roiled the New Orleans Police Department after the 2005 storm, reports the Associated Press.
Gerard Dugue had been scheduled for trial Monday but pleaded guilty to one charge of being an "accessory after the fact to willful deprivation of rights under cover of law," a misdemeanor.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt accepted the plea agreement's sentence of a year on probation and dismissed an indictment charging Dugue with multiple felonies.
The judge also waived a fine, saying Dugue could not afford to pay one, but said he must pay restitution. The judge said he will decide the amount after civil lawsuits filed by victims' families are resolved. He said he will subtract the civil damages from the restitution.
Dugue retired during the federal investigation, though his lawyer said at the time that he had already been planning retirement.