Tactics in case surrounding alleged attack of parish DA questioned
Published 12:03 am Saturday, April 30, 2016
VIDALIA — Even though the trial involving a Baton Rouge lawyer accused of simple battery against Concordia Parish’s district attorney was continued Friday, the defense took the opportunity to argue his client’s rights were not being upheld.
Baton Rouge attorney Felix “Andy” Anthony DeJean IV is accused of attacking Seventh Judicial District District Attorney Brad Burget in March 2015.
The attorney general’s office investigated the incident that occurred in the judge’s chambers of the Concordia Parish Courthouse.
Email newsletter signup
Following the investigation, the attorney general’s office passed the case off to LaFourche Parish District Attorney Cam Morvant.
During a motion, DeJean’s attorney Kevin Stockstill of Lafayette, said the circumstances around the case ending up with LaFourche Parish’s DA were suspicious.
Stockstill said assistant attorney general Jeff Hufft had moved to convene a special grand jury to hear the case at which DeJean was going to testify.
DeJean never got that opportunity, though, as a week before it was to happen, Kurt Wall, then acting chief of the criminal division, made the decision to pull the case from Hufft and gave it to Morvant, Stockstill said.
Stockstill said he believes Wall was helping his friend, Burget.
“Mr. Burget was speaking to new Attorney General (Jeff) Landry about retaining Mr. Wall as the criminal division chief,” he said. “I think we should put (Hufft, Wall and Burget) under oath and see if there was any impropriety with that move.”
DeJean was looking forward to the grand jury hearing, Stockstill said.
“If the grand jury had heard Mr. DeJean’s testimony, I don’t believe they would have moved forward with an indictment,” Stockstill said. “I feel like the last-minute moves made by Mr. Wall, possibly at the behest of Mr. Burget, have prevented us an opportunity to avail ourselves of important constitutional protections of the innocent, which I believe Mr. DeJean is.”
LaFourche Assistant DA Kristine Russell argued before Judge Chet Traylor that the defense’s argument is irrelevant to the case based on her investigation.
“It is pointless to convene a grand jury,” she said. “There is no need for an evidentiary hearing of Wall, Burget and Hufft. Everything was made moot once we received the case and made our decision.”
With the information available, Russell said to make this a felony case against DeJean and call a grand jury would have been showing Burget favorable treatment.
Judge Traylor agreed with Russell and denied the motion for an evidentiary hearing, which would have required the judge to determine if the prosecution had enough evidence to proceed to a trial.
Following adjournment, DeJean said he was disappointed.
“I think I have the right to have this matter heard by a grand jury,” he said. “I think the residents of Concordia Parish have a right to a grand jury.”
Burget, who was not in court, said he has recused himself of this case and has no comment.
DeJean has also filed a civil lawsuit against Burget based on this incident, in which DeJean claims he was the victim. Burget has previously said DeJean’s lawsuit is frivolous.
The state versus DeJean will continue at 9:30 a.m. on July 14 in the Concordia Parish Courthouse.