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Tag: New Orleans

House Votes to Impeach New Orleans Fed Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It comes as no surprise that U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans is in big big trouble.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously Thursday to impeach him, the Associated Press reported. The news service reported that lawmakers felt he avoided criminal charges only because the statute of limitations had expired.

The Senate now conducts a trial on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. A two-thirds vote is required to convict.

He has been accused of “taking cash from lawyers and gifts from a bail bondsman, lying to the Senate and the FBI to win confirmation and making false statements in his personal bankruptcy proceedings to hide financial problems and gambling debts,” according to AP.

Second New Orleans Cop — Who is Now an ICE Agent — Charged in Cover Up of 2005 Police Shootings

new-orleans-map-istock
Udate: Thursday 11:40 a.m. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ex-Cop Jeffrey Lehrmann pleaded guilty this morning  to misprision of a felony (a charge for concealing a known felony), for failing to report a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of a police-involved shooting on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. To read press release click here.
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A second ex-New Orleans cop — who is now an agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona — has been federally charged with covering up the infamous Danziger Bridge police shootings in 2005 just after Hurricane Katrina that resulted in two deaths and four injuries, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper reported that Jeffrey Lehrmann, 38, was charged with misprision of a felony or failing to report a crime. He is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in New Orleans Thursday and is cooperating with federal authorities, the paper reported.

Lerhmann was not involved in the shootings, but was tasked with interviewing witnesses.

Last month, Lt. Michael Lohman pleaded guilty Feb. 24 to conspiring to obstruct justice. He too was involved in investigating the case and covering up the findings.

The New Orleans paper reported that authorities charged that “Lehrmann knew of the conspiracy among his fellow officers to obstruct justice and participated in the ‘creation of false reports and the provision of false information to investigating agents’.”

To read full story click here.

FBI Probe Into New Orleans Police Officer Shootings After Katrina Gaining Traction

new-orleans-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in New Orleans appears to making headway in its probe into the shootings of six people on Danziger Bridge just after Hurricane Katrina hit.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that recently retired New Orleans police Lt. Michael Lohman, who helped investigate the shootings, but was not involved with them, is expected to cop a plea on Wednesday.

The paper cited the Associated Press as saying that the ex-official was cooperating with the feds.

The state case against the officers fell apart because of prosecutorial misconduct. In 2008, the feds started investigating the shooting and the investigation into the shootings.

To read the complete story click here.

Column: The Rich Irony of the Fall of a Louisiana State Sen. and His Ties to Bill Jefferson

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes public corruption — particularly in Louisiana  — has a way of making you snicker — at least for a moment.

The sentencing in U.S. District Court in New Orleans of ex-State Sen. Derrick Shepherd on Thursday to 37 months in prison for money laundering made me think of the rich irony of his downfall and his ties to disgraced ex-Congressman William Jefferson.

Back in October 2006, as a reporter for the Washington Post, I attended a candidate debate at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter in New Orleans  for the 2nd Congressional District where Rep. William Jefferson was making a bid for a 9th term.

At the time, Jefferson was under FBI investigation, but had yet to be indicted.

During the debate, which was attended by citizens and local and national media, the challengers kept taking shots at Jefferson, making references to his FBI investigation, implying his problems made it impossible for him to effectively represent the electorate in the fragile post-Katrina era.

Ex-Sen. Shepherd/senate photo

Ex-Sen. Shepherd/senate photo

One of those challengers happened to be Sen. Shepherd.

At one point, Jefferson could take  no more. He started attacking the integrity of the challengers and when he got to Shepherd, he strongly hinted of an ethical breach, saying:  “I will not say what we have to talk about there. But if pushed I will.”

Jefferson went on to beat Shepherd in the primary and eventually won re-election. (Jefferson lost a bid for a 10th term.)

And two years later, in 2008,  Shepherd pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering after helping previously convicted bond broker Gwendolyn Moyo launder $141,000 from the sale of bogus bonds, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  Shepherd kept nearly half the money.

Interestingly, the indictment said Jefferson had steered Shepherd to Moyo after he lost in the 2006 primary to Jefferson. (Jefferson was not charged in that case).

And just as interesting, after Shepherd lost in the 2006 primary, he decided to endorse Jefferson in the main election, the guy he had previously declared was crooked and couldn’t be effective as a Congressman while under FBI investigation.

Interesting how all that works.

As we know, Jefferson was eventually indicted and convicted last Fall of  multiple public corruption counts stemming from many crooked business dealings over the years. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He is free pending his appeal.

Hopefully, Jefferson and Shepherd will get the opportunity to spend some quality time together behind bars.

I’m sure they’ll  be able to appreciate the rich irony of it all.

New Orleans Police Brass Appear Before Fed Grand Jury Probing Deadly Civil Rights Violations

new orleans police badge
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A major probe by the FBI and Justice Department into the New Orleans Police department’s behavior in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is continuing to show signs of life.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Police Superintendent Warren Riley, his predecessor Eddie Compass and other top police brass testified Friday before a federal grand jury on the fourth floor of the federal courthouse.

Authorities are investigating allegations of civil rights violations that included deadly acts.

For full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

New Orleans FBI Agent Tapped for Police Chief of Small Community

Mandeville_LABy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A veteran FBI agent in New Orleans has been tapped as the new police chief for the city of Mandeville, a suburb of New Orleans, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is reporting.

Percy “Rick” Richard III, who has served a special agent in New Orleans since 1991, supervises 15 agents and five surveillance specialists, the Times-Picayune reported.

He had served on a task force in Afghanistan and is a former state trooper, the paper said. He is a resident of Mandeville, a city of about 12,000 people.

Interim Mayor Edward “Bubby” Lyons announced Richard’s selection at a 2 p.m. news conference at City Hall.

The Mandeville Police Department has been without a chief since former Chief Tom Buell stepped down a year ago. Since then, Capt. Ron Ruple has served as the ranking officer in the agency. Ruple initially applied for the chief’s position but said he withdrew his name last week after the city’s Civil Service Board declined to offer strong enough protections for a chief that was dismissed.

FBI Shuts Down Bridge in Probe of Police Shootings in 2005

new-orleans-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There were signs over the weekend that the FBI was still very actively probing the New Orleans police related shooting deaths six days after Katrina in 2005.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the FBI shut down the infamous Danziger Bridge for several hours Saturday to scour for evidence where two men were killed and four others were wounded. Police were responding to shots fired at officers.

FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne confirmed to the newspaper that the evidence gathering mission was part of the civil rights probe into the shootings.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Congressman Jefferson’s Brother Convicted of Bribery in New Orleans

Just like his brother, Mose Jefferson finds himself headed to prison. It’s a shame a family that could have contributed so much to the public good, chose instead to stuff their pockets. Mose was convicted Friday.

new-orleans-map-istock

By Laura Maggi
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Mose Jefferson, the older brother of the former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson who was convicted two weeks ago of abusing his congressional office to enrich himself and his family, has been, convicted by a federal jury on four charges that he bribed an Orleans Parish School Board member.

The jury considered a seven-count indictment against Jefferson: one count that he conspired to bribe Ellenese Brooks-Simms, three counts of bribery, two obstruction of justice counts and a count of conspiring to commit money laundering.

Jefferson was found guilty on two of the three counts of bribery, and both counts of obstruction of justice.

For Full Story