Former School Board Member Pleads Not Guilty In Thefts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former New Orleans school board member James "Jimmy" Fahrenholtz has pleaded not guilty to two theft-related felony charges after police say they found a stolen iPad tablet and other stolen items in his home in April.
 The Times-Picayune’s Paul Purpura reports Fahrenholtz, 65, pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

         Prosecutors have charged him with obstruction of justice and illegal possession of stolen things valued at $500 to $1,500. If convicted, he could face five years in prison per charge.

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         Lobbyist James Nickel told police his iPad, a keyboard, a carrying case and an expandable file folder were stolen April 22 in Baton Rouge.

         Investigators tracked the iPad to Fahrenholtz's home on April 27. Police say he tossed the iPad into a pond in his backyard to conceal the crime. Although police found some items in Fahrenholtz's home, he denied taking them. He said in an interview in April that he struggled with an alcohol problem and didn't remember being in Baton Rouge the day the theft occurred.

         Fahrenholtz served two elected terms on the school board, beginning in 2000.

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         Prosecutors say Fahrenholtz might be eligible to participate in the Orleans Parish district attorney's office diversion program, an alternative to criminal prosecution for some people charged with non-violent crimes. He could also decline the invitation and fight the charges in court.

         Court records show Fahrenholtz was given until July 7 to decide. A judge has set a hearing for that day to determine the status.

         For more information

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