Judge won't hear oral arguments on jail takeover

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A U.S. district judge has declined to immediately set oral arguments over the city of New Orleans' request to place the local jail under federal control. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration made that motion Tuesday.

It was the latest step in a legal fight involving the city, the U.S. Justice Department and Sheriff Marlin Gusman over how best to improve jail conditions. Wednesday, Judge Lance Africk turned down the city's request for a May 1 hearing.

He held out the possibility of a later date for such a hearing. Gusman late Tuesday accused Landrieu of picking a political fight. Gusman said he has worked to improve jail conditions for years.

He said he inherited badly deteriorated facilities upon taking office, and later had to contend with severe damage from Hurricane Katrina.

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