Former north shore DA’s investigator accused of extorting sex from offenders _lowres

Michael Cotton

A Washington Parish grand jury on Thursday indicted Michael Cotton, a former investigator for the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, on a charge of using his position to extort sex from women facing drug charges.

Cotton, 66, faces four counts connected to his efforts to force women to have sex with him, according to the indictment.

Three of the charges concern his actions toward one woman, the indictment says. Between March 2013 and February 2014, it says, Cotton used his authority as a District Attorney’s Office investigator to coerce the woman to have sex with him. He also helped her gain possession of Suboxone, a prescription painkiller. In February 2014, the indictment says, Cotton threatened the woman to force her to have sex with him.

Those accusations resulted in charges of abuse of office, extortion and being a principal to possession of a narcotic.

The fourth count, public bribery, accuses Cotton of offering to accept sex from a second woman in return for giving her special treatment.

Cotton was arrested Dec. 11. He was released on bond. He was rearrested Thursday and as of late afternoon remained in the Washington Parish jail with bail set at $75,000 on the extortion charge and $25,000 on the public bribery charge, according to a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Cotton went on unpaid leave from the District Attorney’s Office in April and was fired in August from his job as a part-time investigator in Washington Parish, the news release says. He had been employed since May 2007.

Cotton’s prosecution is being handled by the Attorney General’s Office.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the state Inspector General’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, State Police and the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Cotton’s indictment follows that of another investigator, Louis Dabdoub Jr., who was indicted in November on a single count of false swearing to aid a friend in a landlord dispute.

And in April, former longtime DA Walter Reed was indicted on 18 federal counts — another count was added later — of improper campaign spending, mail fraud and making false statements on tax filings.

Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.