Nowhere is the sparring over who will become the next district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes more intense than in St. Tammany’s insular legal community.
And just like much campaigning these days, much of the battle is playing out on social media.
The latest flap began Thursday when Slidell attorney Charles Branton posted a link on his Facebook page to an TV ad for Brian Trainor. That ad features St. Tammany Parish Jack Strain endorsing Trainor, his chief deputy; Branton, who supports Roy Burns, one of Trainor’s three opponents, said that with the ad, “the good ol’ boy network has come out into the open.”
He continued: “A vote for Brian Trainor is a vote for the good ole boys.”
Though he likes Trainor, Branton wrote, he doesn’t believe Trainor has the experience and independence to be an effective DA.
That was too much for Craig Robichaux, an attorney with Talley, Anthony, Hughes and Knight, which represents the sheriff’s office. Robichaux has donated $5,000 to the Trainor campaign.
“Chuck, you’re so full of crap,” Robichaux wrote. “Brian is the only person qualified for the job.”
Robichaux said Trainor’s opponents would struggle to work with law enforcement after years of defense work.
But it was what he said next that raised eyebrows.
“Next time you go to court don’t let me see you asking the ‘good ole boys’ for diversion or a lessor (sic) sentence for your alleged criminal clients,” Robichaux wrote. “One of those ‘good ole boys’ might just tell you no.”
Branton’s response was immediate.
“So you are now implying that my clients will not receive fair treatment if Brian Trainor is elected?” he wrote.
Robichaux denied that he had said such a thing. “I would suspect if you knew (Trainor) and know he would never violate his oath of office,” he wrote.
The exchange continued through several posts, one of which included a screen shot of Robichaux’s riposte accompanied by another comment from Branton:
“Here is a clear message from Craig Robichaux to me. Brian Trainor has said that he will treat people fairly if elected. However it is time for these types of threats to see the light.”
That prompted a response from Trainor himself.
“Chuck, I private messaged you my thoughts on this exchange between you and Craig. However, now that your conversations have been shared with others, I felt it necessary to include my private message to you and with those who have joined this thread. I do not want anyone to form a false impression of me based on you and Craig’s previous posts.”
That message read as follows: “Chuck, you and I have known each other for years and you know that I am not a vindictive person. You also know that I treat everyone equal. If I am fortunate enough to serve as District Attorney, my door will always remain open to you.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.