Former Marion Co. public official to be charged with bribery

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi’s No. 2 man will be charged by federal authorities with bribery.

U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett and FBI officials will announce the federal charges against David Wyser Monday afternoon. Wyser will be charged after signing an information agreement with the U.S. Attorney.

Legal sources tell Fox 59 News that such an agreement is usually part of a decision by the defendant to cooperate with investigators in exchange for a lesser charge or a plea agreement.

Wyser was Brizzi’s chief trial deputy and signed off on the sentence modification of a convicted murderer in 2009.

Paula Willoughby was convicted in the early 1990s for the murder of her husband Darrell Willoughby. The woman’s family spent several years lobbying for her early release from prison.

In 2006 Willoughby’s father, millionaire industrialist Harrison Epperly, donated $29,000 to the re-election campaign of Carl Brizzi the weekend before the November election.

Nearly three years later, in a rare move, the prosecutor’s office agreed with Willoughby’s attorney that the convicted killer should be released early from prison.

The family of Darrell Willoughby was outraged and charged that political pressure was brought to bear on the early release petition. A Fox 59 investigation in February of 2010 revealed the deal to release Willoughby from prison and the money that exchanged hands.

One longtime defense attorney said he was dismayed by “disturbing things” that went on during the Brizzi administration from 2002-2010.

“The campaign contributions speak for themselves,” he said. “The previous administration always said, ‘No,’ to sentence modification requests. The only way to get this administration to look at those requests was when you made a big contribution to a campaign.”

If Wyser has signed an information agreement and decided to cooperate with authorities, he would be the second Brizzi intimate to reach such a bargain.

Attorney Paul Page has been cooperating with federal investigators since his January plea agreement on an Elkhart land deal. Fox 59 uncovered a pattern of Page clients who would receive preferential treatment for their criminal cases by Brizzi’s office.

One source told Fox 59 News that regarding the federal probe into Brizzi’s activities, “That circle has been closing for a long time.”

After learning about the charges against Wyser, another source told Fox 59 News, “Today we’re going after the junior varsity before we get to the varsity.”

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry offered no additional information about the case.

In a statement, Curry said, “David Wyser was a staff member under the prior administration of Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.  It is thus inappropriate to comment upon any criminal charges which have been brought against him.”