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st tammany parish, la -
NEW ORLEANS - An assistant attorney general for the state of Louisiana says the former St. Tammany coroner could face time in state prison as well as federal prison.
The AG's office is taking an independent look at some of the allegations of misspending exposed in a series of FOX 8 investigative reports.
Peter Galvan already faces up to five years in federal prison for conspiring and taking public money for his personal use.
Galvan will be sentenced on the federal charges next month after pleading guilty Wednesday, but now it looks as though he could face state charges, as well.
"There's no jeopardy because it's a separate sovereignty," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. "Sometimes, people have a hard time understanding that. They can do this prosecution if they want to."
Assistant State Attorney General David Caldwell told FOX 8's Lee Zurik: "We will take an active independent look at the case. What happened in federal court won't impact the state."
"To come in the day after pleading guilty in state court, he has every right to, but I don't think it's the right thing to do at this stage of the game," said Raspanti.
But the attorney general's office says it was waiting for the new legislative audit, which gives more details on the misspending of public money. Among other findings, Galvan spent over $4,600 on jet fuel, charts and flying lessons; over $3,600 on an inauguration party, and $2,000 for a trip to New York.
"I really can't described this kind of arrogance that people have," said St. Tammany Parish resident Belinda Parker Brown.
Some believe anger over the coroner's abuses on the Northshore could sway a Tammany judge to give Galvan a stiffer sentence in state prison.
For his part, Galvan has never offered an explanation.
But we could learn more at a state trial, now that the attorney general believes there's enough there to proceed.
There's no word on whether the attorney general will present the audit findings to a state grand jury to consider a possible indictment, or if he will file a bill of information, as the feds did.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
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