Judge Drops Some Charges Against Woman in Crittenden Drug Police Probe

September 4, 2003 - Posted at: 8:12 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A federal judge dismissed three perjury charges against a woman accused of lying to protect her law officer husband, but allowed one charge to stand.

Angela Pirani, wife of former Crittenden County sheriff's deputy Louis F. Pirani, was charged with lying to a grand jury when being questioned about an airplane that prosecutors alleged that her husband bought in secret with money stolen from drivers.

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson said the context of three questions were not clear, and he threw out the three charges.  A fourth charge from the same line of questioning was not challenged by defense lawyers and was allowed to stand.  She has a December ninth trial date.

In February, Louis Pirani of Marion was convicted of lying to federal investigators.  A jury acquitted Pirani's brother, Steven Pirani, on three counts related to the investigation.

Former Crittenden County sheriff's deputy Barry Davis pleaded guilty in July to felony fraud.  He was among a number of people indicted in an investigation of law officers accused of making traffic stops and taking money from innocent motorists or skimming from cash seizures in legitimate drug arrests.

Davis pleaded guilty to mail fraud; he had been charged with seven felony counts in two separate indictments.  The other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

In an earlier trial, former sheriff's deputy and West Memphis police officer Joseph W. Applegate was acquitted.  Former West Memphis police officer Edwin A. "Tony" Bradley was convicted on corruption and theft charges.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.