- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Pass Christian contractor’s guilty plea was delayed Tuesday after a federal judge took himself off the case.

Sean H. Anthony appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Gulfport Tuesday and agreed to be charged without an indictment on one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery, according to court records.

He pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Judge Robert Walker. U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden had been scheduled to take Anthony’s guilty plea Tuesday, but in an order entered Tuesday, he recused himself for unspecified reasons. The case was reassigned to U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett. Anthony’s attorney, Joe Sam Owen, told the Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1EdKu9B) that Anthony plans to plead guilty later.

Anthony faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines on the single count. The charge says he conspired to commit bribery and “honest services wire fraud.” He remains free on $25,000 bond.

The charge says Anthony bribed to two unidentified leaders of the Harrison County Utility Authority.

Former Harrison County Utility Authority Executive Director Kamran Pahlavan pleaded not guilty Dec. 16 in federal court in Gulfport to a five-count indictment that he took bribes from Anthony. He remains free on bond and is set for trial July 16. The indictment claims Pahlavan took automobiles, New Orleans Saints tickets, home repairs and use of a beach condominium in exchange for steering business to S.H. Anthony. Pahlavan faces up to 60 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines on the five felony counts.

Former Harrison County Supervisor Kim Savant pleaded guilty Dec. 16 in federal court in Gulfport to a conspiracy charge related to taking as much as $36,000 in cash bribes from Anthony while Savant was one of seven authority board members. Savant is set to be sentenced March 26, and faces five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

Anthony’s company, S.H. Anthony Inc., worked on a variety of construction jobs following 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. It auctioned its equipment in a December sale.

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