Kenneth Landrieu

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

OPSO

A six-person jury early Wednesday convicted Kenneth Landrieu of pulling a gun on another motorist while threatening to have him arrested in a 2015 road rage incident.

Landrieu, 54, a first cousin of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, could face up to 10 years in prison for aggravated assault with a firearm. Criminal District Court Judge Byron C. Williams set bond at $50,000. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 22.

The victim in the incident, film industry set decorator Joseph Harris, testified that Kenneth Landrieu forced him to pull over near the HiVolt coffee shop on Sophie Wright Place in the Lower Garden District in September 2015. Landrieu was "beet-red" and "angry" as the two men faced off, Harris said.

Landrieu whipped out a gun and threatened to call his "boys" to have Harris arrested. But Harris managed to defuse the situation by going "full submission," he said. Landrieu then drove off in a baby-blue Cadillac DeVille owned by his mother, former Orleans Parish School Board member Phyllis Landrieu. She is the sister-in-law of former Mayor Moon Landrieu, the present mayor's father.

Kenneth Landrieu's defense team argued that their client was acting within his rights as a reserve Orleans Parish Sheriff's deputy to stop Harris for bad driving. They also questioned whether Harris was really afraid for his life, which the law requires be proved for a conviction on aggravated assault.

Harris testified that was worried he might be shot.

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

Harris has separately filed a civil suit against Landrieu. Defense attorneys asked to mention that suit at the trial, but their request was denied by the judge.

Hours later, Landrieu appeared in court for a pre-sentencing bond hearing.

His mother, wearing a sky-blue pantsuit and a gold broach, told the court how her son has provided live-in care for her for years at her Uptown home. Prosecutors were asking that Kenneth Landrieu be held on $100,000 bail, contending he was a danger to the community.

“It started after he was providing health care services to my husband, who was dying of Parkinson’s disease" she said. "Kenny nursed him to the very last day of his life.” 

Phyllis Landrieu said her son also helped her with a serious infection in her leg and ran errands for her after she stopped driving her car.

“I have many experiences over the years with Kenneth," she said. "I’m confident that he will live up to his responsibilities.” 

Follow Matt Sledge on Twitter, @mgsledge.

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