Brian Trainor, one of four candidates hoping to replace Walter Reed as district attorney for the 22nd Judicial District, minimized his role in a personal-injury lawsuit that landed attorney Charles Hughes in hot water this month when racial slurs Hughes used in a recorded conversation with an unhappy client became public.
Trainor’s only involvement in the case was to work on accident reconstruction and handle a continuance for a traffic ticket, his campaign has said. The campaign added that was the only time he got work from Talley, Anthony, Hughes & Knight, a firm that holds a large contract to handle legal work for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Trainor’s employer.
But Trainor’s links to the firm go a little deeper. Fliers for his campaign say “Paid for by the Committee to Elect Brian F. Trainor DA.” The address given for that group is 2250 Seventh St. in Mandeville — also the address of Talley, Anthony, Hughes & Knight.
Members of the law firm also have supported Trainor’s political ambitions with substantial campaign contributions — a total of $15,500 in the first reporting period for the race.
Hughes gave Trainor $5,000, as did Craig Robichaux and Ryan Davis. Another lawyer in the firm, Rachael Catalanotto, contributed $500.
Trainor announced his candidacy July 14, the day before Reed said he would not seek a sixth term. Donations from attorneys in the firm were made a few days later.
The Trainor camp said Catalanotto is a longtime friend of Trainor’s and serves as the campaign’s treasurer and that it made sense to use the law firm’s address as the campaign’s mailing address.
Montgomery tries to tie opponents to Reed
Warren Montgomery, another of the four candidates in the DA’s race, this week released what some observers called the first attack piece of the campaign.
The flier takes shots at all the other candidates in the race, claiming that Trainor, Alan Black and Roy Burns all have ties to the current DA.
Under the heading “Supported by current DA Walter Reed,” a bold “No” appears by Montgomery’s name. Trainor, Black and Burns are marked “Yes,” though the flier doesn’t specify Black’s alleged connection to Reed.
Under Burns, it says, “Law Firm Represented Reed’s Family.”
The most pointed criticism is aimed at the perceived front-runner, Trainor, who it notes “worked 8 yrs as his (Reed’s) assistant.” The cover boasts a picture of Montgomery with the claim that he has “ZERO ties to the past” and then describes Trainor as being appointed by Reed and Sheriff Jack Strain. “He has practiced private law and campaigned for office while serving as a full-time deputy sheriff and misdemeanor attorney,” the ad says.
Trainor is on unpaid leave from the Sheriff’s Office and denies that he is campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime.
All of the candidates in the race have sought to distance themselves from Reed, whose business practices and campaign spending have faced heavy media scrutiny in recent months.
Reed also is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.
Black gets nod from ‘Vampire Diaries’ star
The St. Tammany district attorney’s race may be the highest-profile local election on the Nov. 4 ballot, but it hardly seems like the kind of contest that would draw the eye of Hollywood.
But Ian Somerhalder, smoldering star of “The Vampire Diaries” and “Lost” and a Covington native, is weighing in on social media with a fulsome endorsement of Black, a Slidell attorney.
Somerhalder posted a selfie on Instagram in which he holds a Black flier in front of his famous visage. It is accompanied by an impassioned plea asking his fans in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to vote for Black.
“Just had an amazing powwow with an amazing guy running for district attorney in my home district of St. Tammany and Washington Parish Louisiana named Alan Black,” Somerhalder posted in a rambling caption to the photo. “What makes this guy so awesome — why I think you’ll love him, is that he speaks the same language as so many of us — no, not just English but the language of youth, of community and sustainability.’’
Somerhalder said he and Black discussed cleaning up old patterns in the DA’s Office. “I cannot wait to work with him TO help build these two beautiful parishes up and bring them out of corruption and darkness,” he wrote.
The star fretted that the contest would get overlooked with all the attention focused on the U.S. Senate race and asked young voters to vote and to talk to their parents.
With 121,000 “likes” on the post and more than 1,000 comments, he’s clearly grabbed some attention. But it isn’t clear how much of a bump the buzz will give the 56-year-old candidate. Many of the commenters seemed far more fixated on Somerhalder than on Black.
“My baby,” one gushed. “I love you so much,” said another, a sentiment repeated in various languages.
“How can you be so sexy and so considerate,” one poster wondered, while another asked the eternal question: “Can I please, please be with him?”
Compiled by staff writer Sara Pagones