Zurik: Morel investigation over? Don't tell the feds - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Lee Zurik Investigation: Morel investigation over? Don't tell the feds

Harry Morel (courtesy NOLA.com) Harry Morel (courtesy NOLA.com)
New Orleans, La. -

Two sources in St. Charles Parish with knowledge of the investigation tell FOX 8 News that the government's probe of a former St. Charles Parish district attorney continues - even though the former DA's attorney says he was told the investigation was over.

The feds are investigating allegations that Harry Morel exchanged plea deals for sexual favors.

On Monday, The Advocate newspaper reported the criminal probe had ended, based on an interview with Morel's attorney, Ralph Capitelli. He told the newspaper he was notified by a federal official in Washington that the U.S. Attorney's office had declined the case.

Two sources with knowledge of the investigation tell FOX 8 News the FBI's investigation has not ended -- in fact, potential witnesses were interviewed within the past few weeks.

Just last week, the Times-Picayune had requested a copy of a 911 tape from the St. Charles Sheriff's Office. The newspaper reports the audio "alleges sexual abuse on the part of Morel."

The Sheriff's Office said it couldn't hand over that tape because of the ongoing investigation.

Tuesday, we asked the sheriff for all documents related to the Morel investigation. Again, he said he couldn't provide anything because of the ongoing investigation.

The sheriff's response to the Times-Picayune and FOX 8 News is just another sign that the investigation is ongoing. If the investigation had ended, the sheriff would be required by law to turn over the tape and other documents.

Morel served as St. Charles Parish's district attorney from 1979 to 2012. The FBI has issued several subpoenas in St. Charles Parish, trying to show Morel used the power of his office to solicit sexual favors.

We talked to Morel's attorney by phone Wednesday. Ralph Capitelli reiterated to us that a federal official in Washington told him the investigation was over.

Again - our sources in St. Charles Parish say that's not true, and the FBI probe continues.

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