Kenneth Landrieu

A jury convicted Kenneth Landrieu of aggravated assault with a firearm on Wednesday. (OPSO)

OPSO

A New Orleans judge on Friday denied a bid for a new trial for Kenneth Landrieu, a cousin of Mayor Mitch Landrieu who was convicted in July of aggravated assault after a road rage incident.

Rather than addressing the merits of the request, Criminal District Court Judge Byron C. Williams denied the motion on technical grounds, saying Landrieu's attorneys had failed to request a transcript of the original trial.

Judges rarely grant defendants' pre-sentencing motions for a new trial. 

Landrieu, who is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 1, faces up to 10 years in prison. He has been free on $50,000 bail since his conviction by a six-person jury. Though denied a new trial, he can still lodge a full appeal after sentencing. 

Among other reasons, Landrieu’s lawyers sought to win a new trial because the judge barred them from bringing up a lawsuit seeking financial damages that was filed by the victim, movie set decorator Joseph Harris.

Harris testified that Landrieu was “beet-red” with anger when they both pulled over their vehicles in the Lower Garden District in September 2015. Harris said Landrieu pulled out a small gun out and threatened to call his “boys” on Harris for cutting him off on Magazine Street.

Landrieu was driving a blue Cadillac DeVille owned by his mother, former Orleans Parish School Board member Phyllis Landrieu, who is the sister-in-law of former Mayor Moon Landrieu.

Complicating the incident was the fact that Landrieu was wearing a reserve Sheriff’s Office badge at the time. A Sheriff’s Office official testified during the trial that, despite the badge, Landrieu was not supposed to conduct traffic stops.

Harris said the confrontation on the street left him in fear for his life.

"This guy occupies a space in my mind that he never deserved. I’ve gone to therapy over it," he testified. "I don’t know what this guy’s capable of."

The motion for a new trial was written by one of Landrieu’s trial attorneys, Justin Zitler. He will be represented at his sentencing by two new attorneys, City Councilman Jason Williams and Bobby Hjortsberg.

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432