The Louisiana Supreme Court has put a hold on a New Orleans court hearing about a subpoena for Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell’s personal bank records that had been set for next week, a high court spokesman said Thursday.
Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Laurie White had scheduled a hearing Wednesday to determine whether to quash the bank subpoena from the office of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, at the request of Cantrell’s attorney. The hearing promised to be a high-stakes showdown that had the potential to put a crimp in the attorney general's investigation of Cantrell.
The order from the state Supreme Court, called a stay, puts that hearing on indefinite hold until the Supreme Court decides whether White should oversee the hearing.
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has turned to the state Supreme Court in its effort to boot New Orleans judges from overseeing a subpo…
State prosecutors have asked the Supreme Court to toss White and every other Criminal District Court judge off the case given Cantrell’s future hand in the court’s budget as well as the fact that the mayor-elect's father-in-law, Harry Cantrell, sits as magistrate judge.
LaToya Cantrell’s attorney, Billy Gibbens, has called the subpoena for her private bank records “nothing more than an intrusive and harassing witch-hunt by a political opponent.” Landry is a Republican and Cantrell is a Democrat. Gibbens is trying to convince White to quash the subpoena, which another Orleans Parish judge issued Nov. 27.
The stay order does not by itself suggest how the Supreme Court might see the request from the Attorney General’s Office. But it does indicate that justices believe they will need more time to decide on an issue that could make headlines for months to come.
The stay comes during a slow period at the high court. It was closed for business on Monday and Tuesday and will also be closed on New Year's Day and Tuesday, according to its website.
Last week, the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal found in a 2-1 decision that White had the authority to reject a request from the Attorney General’s Office to recuse herself. Prosecutors quickly filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Although the Attorney General’s Office has not revealed the full contours of its investigation, it has disclosed that it is probing the nearly $9,000 in charges that Cantrell made to a New Orleans City Council credit card and then repaid before she ran for mayor.
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro referred the investigation to Landry because Cannizzaro backed Cantrell’s opponent in the Nov. 18 mayoral election, Desiree Charbonnet.
Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell sought Saturday to distance herself from former state lawmaker Derrick Shepherd and said the ex-con won’t play a r…