A Baton Rouge judge refused Friday to throw out former Louisiana health chief Bruce Greenstein’s perjury indictment, saying prosecutors did not violate state grand jury secrecy laws when they filed his grand jury testimony into the public case file in December.
State District Judge Lou Daniel denied a request from Greenstein’s attorneys to quash his September indictment related to events surrounding the award of a nearly $200 million Medicaid claims processing contract to Client Network Services Inc., where Greenstein once worked.
The Jindal administration later canceled CNSI’s contract. The company filed a wrongful contract termination lawsuit against the state and denied any wrongdoing.
John McLindon, one of Greenstein’s attorneys, said he likely will ask a state appeals court to review Daniel’s decision.
“We did nothing wrong. I knew we followed the law,” Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said outside the judge’s courtroom after the hearing.
Daniel agreed with Caldwell inside the courtroom that the public release of Greenstein’s 201-page grand jury transcript was allowed. The judge, and Caldwell, cited state law that says grand jury testimony can be disclosed at any time when permitted by a court to show a person committed perjury before a grand jury.
Nineteenth Judicial District Court Commissioner Quintillis Lawrence had signed a state motion to disclose the grand jury testimony to the defense. Caldwell said the testimony was filed into the public case record as a “routine” discovery matter.
McLindon argued to Daniel on Friday that the public release of the testimony “an egregious violation of Louisiana grand jury secrecy laws.”
“Just because it’s newsworthy doesn’t mean you can lift the veil of secrecy,” McLindon told the judge, adding that the release of Greenstein’s testimony to the public makes grand jury secrecy a “sham.”
“It sends a terrible message,” McLindon added.
Caldwell said the Attorney General’s Office takes grand jury secrecy seriously and followed the law with respect to Greenstein’s grand jury testimony.
Greenstein, who faces nine perjury counts, did not attend Friday’s hearing. He lives in Seattle and has pleaded not guilty.
The charges accuse him of lying to the grand jury and a legislative committee about his contact with CNSI executives before, during and after the contract award.
Greenstein’s April 2013 resignation as secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals came after news broke of a federal grand jury investigation into the contract’s award to his former employer. The federal probe went nowhere, but a state grand jury was soon impaneled.
According to the grand jury transcript, Greenstein told the panel he would have done some things differently but, in the end, he did nothing wrong and took no money in exchange for CNSI getting the contract.