BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (WALA) - Some people in Bayou La Batre are wondering what's next for their community now that their mayor has been convicted of corruption and retaliation.
There was no answer at Stan Wright's home in Bayou La Batre on Saturday, but people in the Safe Harbor subdivision across the street were talking about Wright's conviction.
"I'm surprised it happened. I mean he was just elected mayor, so I was shocked," Dawn Rogers said.
Rogers moved into the subdivision about month after it opened in 2008. She doesn't think the conviction will change much in her neighborhood.
Linda Blake believes a lot of people are disappointed.
"From what I know, the people out in this area, everybody was always praising him, and that's all I knew about him," Blake said.
Blake is concerned about who might take over now the mayor will have to step down.
"I feel good, but I can't interview though," Wright told reporters as he left the federal courthouse following his conviction Friday.
Former Bayou La Batre Police Captain Darryl Wilson testified in court Mayor Wright reduced him to patrol duties and removed him from a federal task force when Wright found out Wilson was talking to the FBI.
"This case was personal, because I'm the victim, and the bottom line today is the jury spoke, justice has been served, and main thing is the citizens of Bayou la Batre now have a chance to move forward," Wilson said.
Wright will have to give up his position as mayor, but his lawyer indicated he may not be ready to give up his legal fight.
When asked if he planned to appeal defense lawyer Arthur Madden said, "I expect that decision will be made."
Prosecutors have concerns, following the verdict. Wright's sentencing is set for June 28.
"This was a case of retaliation and intimidation, and the evidence was set forth, and we were concerned about that," Assistant U.S. Attorney George May said.
The prosecutors wanted the judge to revoke Wright's bond and lock him up immediately, but that didn't happen. Regardless, May said the verdict sends a message to others.
"The message is we are going to give close scrutiny to any misuse of federal funds particularly in the situation of a natural disaster," he said.
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