State Sen. Troy Brown has managed to avoid going on trial twice, but only because he entered two no-contest pleas to domestic violence-related allegations in the space of four months.
Yes, both convictions were misdemeanors, one for simple battery in New Orleans and one for domestic abuse battery in Ascension Parish, but the particulars were still chilling. Brown admitted to punching his longtime girlfriend in the eye following the 2015 Bayou Classic football game, and to biting his wife as they struggled over a cell phone in their Geismar home last summer.
Embattled state Sen. Troy Brown announced his resignation Thursday saving the state Senate w…
Yet Brown has continued to cast himself as the victim rather than the aggressor, even when he finally bowed to reality Thursday afternoon and resigned his seat in the face of almost certain expulsion.
For months, Brown had resisted bipartisan calls that he step aside voluntarily, prompting several of his colleagues to introduce a resolution demanding his ouster. Brown's lawyer spent more than an hour Wednesday trying to convince the Senate to treat the rare proceeding as something akin to a trial, all about whether Brown should be entitled to discovery and be subject to specific standard. Specifically, lawyer attorney Jill Craft argued that Brown should be judged based on the fact that he was convicted of misdemeanors, not felonies, and noted that nobody else had been removed from office under such circumstances.
Yet it was clear that most senators were focused not on Brown but on how the whole sorry affair reflected on the body, and what message they would be sending if they took his side.
State Sen. Dan Claitor, a Baton Rouge Republican and one of the expulsion resolution's authors, insisted the proceeding wasn't about a garden-variety misdemeanor but "about beating women on multiple occasions."
State Sen. Danny Martiny, a Republican from Metairie, chimed in that "it's the nature of the conduct here, not how it was classified."
And state Sen. J.P. Morrell, a New Orleans Democrat, countered Craft's assertion that he and his peers were acting arbitrarily. There was a standard at stake, Morrell said: What's unbecoming the Senate.
Brown went down swinging. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, he complained that he was denied a fair hearing.
But if he thought he was getting the last word, Morrell quickly issued a statement shifting the focus.
State senators shot down every request for evidence – even a list of possible witnesses – du…
"Senator Brown's resignation allows the Senate to focus on the primary purpose of the special session, which is repairing a $304 million shortfall in our current budget," Morrell wrote. "Also, it brings closure to thousands of victims of domestic violence who have followed this process. The Louisiana State Senate stands with victims of domestic violence and is committed to protecting those without a voice."
As well it should be.