The Latest: Prosecutor predicts vindication in lawsuit
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on a federal lawsuit accusing New Orleans’ district attorney of jailing witnesses and crime victims who refused to speak to prosecutors (all times local):
The New Orleans district attorney is predicting he and his assistants will be vindicated amid allegations that they seek arrest warrants and high bails for witnesses and victims who decline to speak to prosecutors.
Leon Cannizzaro issued a statement Tuesday saying no individual person who is aggrieved by his office’s policies and practices has contacted him.
A federal suit filed Tuesday by civil rights groups alleges that Cannizzaro’s office used tactics that resulted in victims of rape, domestic abuse and sex trafficking serving jail time. It alleges prosecutors used false information in some cases to get arrest warrants for the witnesses and victims.
Cannizzaro said he looks forward to litigating the issues where, in his words, “naked allegations must be supported by substantive proof.”
A federal lawsuit claims the New Orleans district attorney routinely seeks arrest warrants and high bails for witnesses and crime victims who refuse to speak with prosecutors.
Tuesday’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of six people and a victims’ advocacy group against District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and nine of his assistants. It includes an allegation that a victim of child sex trafficking was jailed for 109 days.
The suit also says Cannizzaro’s staff used phony subpoenas — issued without judicial approval — to coerce victims and witnesses to submit to questioning. Cannizzaro said earlier this year that practice had been stopped.
His office did not immediately respond Tuesday to an emailed request for comment on the new lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Civil Rights Corps.