Former New Orleans City Councilwoman Renee Gill Pratt on Friday pleaded innocent to a racketeering charge that accuses her of joining three members of the embattled Jefferson political dynasty in operating a "criminal enterprise" that exploited local elective offices to bilk programs intended to benefit the public.
In a five-minute proceeding, Gill Pratt and her co-defendants each told U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson Jr. that they understood the charges against them. Each offered the same plea: "Not guilty."
For Gill Pratt, who began her political career in the state Legislature, it marked the first public appearance since a federal grand jury indicted her May 22 in connection with charges lodged a year ago against Gill Pratt's longtime companion Mose Jefferson, the brother of former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson; Jefferson's sister, 4th Municipal District Assessor Betty Jeffe
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