St. Bernard Parish Council President David Peralta won’t be able to subpoena state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell or the lawyers under him at a Sept. 30 hearing on whether the office should be recused from prosecuting Peralta in a stalking case, a judge ruled Monday.
Peralta has been indicted four times in the past 16 months, once on charges that he stalked his ex-wife, Sharon Schaefer, who lived in St. Tammany Parish at the time.
Peralta has claimed that the state Attorney General’s Office is pursuing a vendetta against him.
He appeared before 22nd Judicial District Judge Scott Gardner at a hearing Monday on a motion to subpoena Caldwell and Assistant Attorneys General David Caldwell, David Weilbaecher Jr., Matthew Derbes and Molly Lancaster.
Peralta’s attorney, Martin Regan, is seeking to recuse the Attorney General’s Office for alleged violations of rules of professional conduct. Regan told Gardner that he wants to put David Caldwell on the witness stand to question him about public statements he made to the media concerning Peralta.
Under Article 507 of the Louisiana Code of Evidence, a lawyer can’t be forced by the opposing side to testify in a criminal investigation or proceeding unless certain conditions are met, including whether the information is essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation, prosecution or defense and whether there is no practical alternative means of getting the information.
After hearing from Regan and Weilbaecher, Gardner denied the defense’s motion, saying that Regan could find an alternative source of information, including getting a certified copy of The Advocate in which David Caldwell’s comments were quoted.
Regan indicated that he plans to subpoena New Orleans Advocate reporter Richard Thompson to ask him to identify David Caldwell as the person who made the statements about Peralta. If Caldwell simply appeared in court, Regan said, he could ask the reporter to point him out. But Gardner did not agree to that, either.
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