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Attorney General Jeff Landry, center, answers a question during Landry's news conference at the Livingston Building to discuss details on his lawsuit, Landry v. Gallo, and "discussion of human resource issues." Tuesday April 20, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. Sandra Schober, H.R. Director, left, and Civil Division Director, Alicia Wheeler, right, watch.

A high-ranking prosecutor in Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office wrote in his resignation letter this week that he “reported, opposed and complained about” the way that the office handled a child pornography case for a “politically connected individual.”

The reference to the child porn case against 22-year-old Gregory Campo Jr. of Lafayette was one of several complaints former Assistant Attorney General Matthew Derbes lodged against Landry in his resignation letter. Derbes has publicly identified himself as the whistleblower who reported sexual harassment last year by former criminal division director Pat Magee, a Landry ally who resigned last month after a second sexual harassment complaint.

Derbes alleged that Landry has retaliated against him ever since he complained about Magee. But Derbes said he was also troubled by how he was instructed to handle the child porn case; his letter did not name Campo but said the case involved “preferential treatment afforded a politically connected individual facing 20 counts of child pornography charges involving juveniles under the age of 13 years old.”

It's not clear what relationship, if any, Landry has to the Campos, the wealthy Lafayette family at the center of the matter. Landry has repeatedly refused to answer questions about how he knows them, or if he does, though he has said the case got no special treatment. 

The family’s attorney, meanwhile, has said they have no connections to Landry or to any other prosecutors in his office — familial, friendship, business or otherwise. While the Campo family has donated generously to other causes, campaign finance records do not show any contributions to Landry’s campaigns.

Through his attorney, Jill Craft, Derbes declined to elaborate further on the allegation from his resignation letter or to explain the basis for his assertion that Gregory Campo was singled out for special treatment. Derbes has filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against Landry for retaliating against him, which is the first step toward filing retaliation and employment discrimination lawsuits.

Campo, who hails from Lafayette but was living in Baton Rouge, self-surrendered to police in January, and the Attorney General’s Office charged him with five counts of pornography involving juveniles.

The matter is still pending.

Roughly a year passed between when the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation — an arm of the AG’s office — found evidence that Campo possessed child porn and when he was arrested. Court records show that the AG’s office documented finding evidence of child porn in March 2019, and a Baton Rouge judge signed an arrest warrant for Campo on Jan. 8, 2020 for 20 counts of possession of child pornography.

In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office defended the delay of the arrest.

“Early on in the case, it was brought to our attention that the defendant was in a long-term, out-of-state, residential treatment program,” said Marty White, who replaced Magee as director of the AG’s criminal division. “This along with COVID-19 slowed the process of effectuating an arrest of the defendant.”

Campo self-surrendered to authorities in January and was released on an $80,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty to the charges last month, and a trial date has not yet been set in his case.

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“The Campo family, the parents, do not know Jeff Landry,” said attorney Bryan Fisher, who represents the Campo family. “They’ve never met him. They’ve never spoken to him on the phone. They do not know him from Adam.”

Fisher also said the delay in Campo’s arrest was because he was in treatment, and that he briefly left treatment to be arrested — which was negotiated with the Attorney General’s office — and returned to treatment afterward. John McLindon, the attorney representing Campo in the criminal case, also complimented the AG’s office and said they’d handled the case “very professionally.”

Campo’s father, Gregory Campo Sr., owns a number of businesses in the Lafayette area, as does Landry. The elder Campo has been a prolific donor to some causes; for instance, he gave $100,000 to a recent capital campaign benefiting a private Lafayette high school.

But there’s no evidence that Campo or any of his firms has donated to any of Landry’s political campaigns.

And asked at a news conference Tuesday about the assertions in the resignation letter, Landry didn’t engage, instead questioning a reporter about how she had seen a copy of the resignation letter. He said that he did not recall seeing the allegations about a child-porn case being fumbled, though Derbes’ attorney said that the resignation letter was hand-delivered to Landry on Monday.

Landry often sends out news releases announcing arrests in child porn cases, and has sent out 11 since the start of the year. Campo’s name has not been included in any of them.

WAFB reported Wednesday that a Landry spokesman said such releases are generally issued in cases where the suspect is at large, but the station reported that was true in only three of the 28 news releases about child porn that Landry’s office has sent out in the past year.

“Crimes against children are intolerable offenses,” Landry wrote in a recent news release. “My office and I are committed to using every tool we have to aggressively pursue child predators.”

White says the case has been handled like any other child-porn case.

“During the course of the investigation and now prosecution, no preferential treatment was afforded to the defendant,” White said.

He said the $80,000 bond was consistent with similar cases in the same jurisdiction.

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