Incoming 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery is hiring two prosecutors away from the office that has been overseeing a grand jury probe into his predecessor, longtime District Attorney Walter Reed.
Collin Sims and Tony G. Sanders, both assistant U.S. attorneys and prosecutors under U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, will begin work Monday, the same day Montgomery is sworn in.
Montgomery takes over amid a federal investigation into Reed that became public in June, a probe that has led to grand jury subpoenas for some Reed lieutenants and numerous visits by FBI agents to the DA’s offices in Covington.
Montgomery said this week that he’s setting up three divisions — criminal, civil and administrative — each headed by a chief, rather than having a first assistant district attorney, as was Reed’s custom.
Sims will head the criminal division, and Sanders, who also worked previously at the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, will oversee the administrative division, Montgomery said.
Tony LeMon, who played an active role in Montgomery’s campaign and served on his transition team, will head the civil division.
“They are outstanding lawyers and outstanding people,” Montgomery said of his new hires. “The people of Washington and St. Tammany parishes are fortunate to have them offer themselves to serve the public in their respective capacities. I have no doubt the citizens will be happy with the results of their work.”
Montgomery has been reticent since his election about how sweeping the staffing changes will be at the office, where Reed presided for 30 years. But some major changes clearly are in the works. Along with the new hires Montgomery announced, he also confirmed some departures.
Houston “Hammy” Gascon, Reed’s first assistant, said early on that he would not be returning, Montgomery said. Gascon’s last day is Friday.
In addition, Montgomery said, Gascon told him that Bart Pepperman, who headed the diversion program, and Louis Dabdoub, who was the chief investigator under Reed, would not be staying on.
Montgomery, who served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office himself in the early 1980s, will be sworn in at 10 a.m. Monday at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center. The oath will be administered by retired state Supreme Court Justice Harry Lemmon.
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Editor’s note: This story was changed on Jan. 8 to correct the date of Houston “Hammy” Gascon’s departure. His last day is Friday.