When our reporter Andrea Gallo asked Jeff Landry for a copy of a sexual harassment complaint against a key Landry deputy, the attorney general responded with unexpected combativeness: He filed suit against Gallo.
Landry contended that releasing the explosive complaint would out the whistleblower who filed it, which would discourage future whistleblowers. Public officials typically address that issue by redacting portions of the text that might offer a clue, but in this case, Landry said he would have to redact so much that there wouldn’t be anything meaningful left to release.
It didn’t take long for 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelley to slice through Landry’s arguments. The Baton Rouge judge ruled in favor of Gallo, ordered Landry to pay her legal fees, and made a handful of redactions to the four-page complaint. The judge released it days later.
The whole affair was an embarrassment for the attorney general. The judge’s redactions left plenty for the public to see and it was not flattering to Landry or his deputy and longtime friend, Pat Magee, head of the criminal division. Magee allegedly called one woman attorney “old and ugly” and suggested that another lawyer handle a case because she was “f***able.”
But now it’s clear that the person Landry was trying to protect was not the whistleblower at all. It was Magee, or maybe Landry himself.
In fact, Landry is targeting the whistleblower who filed the complaint, and thanks to sloppy lawyering, his office has pretty much disclosed his identity.
Months after Landry reviewed the complaint, suspended Magee and allowed him to return to work, his deputy director of administrative services Sandra Schober wrote a memo saying that the whistleblower might have violated the office’s sexual harassment policy. “It is a violation of our Sexual Harassment policy for a supervisor not to report inappropriate behavior in a timely manner,” Schober wrote.
But in opting to suspend, rather than fire Magee, Landry contended that the criminal division chief’s behavior, while inappropriate, did not add up to sexual harassment.
So the whistleblower sits on the hot seat for not reporting behavior that Landry later decided did not constitute sexual harassment anyhow.
Pat Magee is gone now. He resigned after a second sexual harassment complaint was piled on.
The whistleblower is still employed, but according to Schober’s memo, he may lack “the requisite judgment, honesty, and integrity required of all LADOJ personnel.”
Voters may wonder whether Landry is the one who falls short of that standard.