Cabbie sues city leaders over false arrest

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A New Orleans cab driver sues Mayor Landrieu and NOPD Chief Serpas, claiming he was falsely arrested after an encounter with a passenger in his cab. Now, as video of the incident surfaces, one legal analyst explains why the cabbie's got a strong case.

Cabbie Hervey Farrell took cell phone video of the incident on April 6th, 2012. Farrell picked up Jennifer Gaubert, an attorney and former radio host, in the French Quarter to take her home in Lakeview. The video shows Gaubert trying to inappropriately touch Farrell. He rejects her advances and after she exits the cab, calls police to say he's been the victim of a sexual battery.

Farrell recently filed a lawsuit against Gaubert, Mayor Landrieu, Chief Serpas and three members of the police department for damages. His lawsuit says, after the encounter in the cab and after misdemeanor charges were brought against Gaubert for battery, he filed a civil complaint against her.

A year later, the suit says Gaubert called police claiming Farrell illegally videotaped her back on that April day with her skirt raised exposing her private parts. She also told police the cabbie was trying to extort money from her in exchange for making the video, disappear.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti says "A pretty attorney comes to them and makes an allegation, they believed her."

Police arrested Farrell and he lost his job. His lawsuit claims police never watched the video.

"I think he's got a very good chance to get a judgement against her. Him losing his job is worth something, how long he's lost it, etc. is all worth something," Raspanti said.

The case was turned over to the district attorney's office. Upon seeing the footage, the D.A. dropped the charges against the cabbie, and instead, charged Jennifer Gaubert with making false statements to police.

"This should be a lesson to everybody out there, there is no more privacy. There is no more 4th amendment in this world. You should expect that any action that you do is going to be videotaped by somebody or something," Raspanti said.

Jennifer Gaubert will go to trial next month. She was already convicted of simple battery for her actions inside the cab.

Since the D.A. decided not to pursue charges against Hervey Farrell, his city permit was re-instated.

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