Prison Contraband case comes back Guilty - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Prison contraband case comes back guilty after councilman testifies

Defense attorneys tried in vain, but couldn't convince an Orleans jury Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors failed to live up to their burden of proof.

They said a jailhouse cell phone was handled by dozen of inmates, but the jury decided that just one, Keith Kisack, was guilty. The six member jury came back in record time, around 15 minutes, as the Orleans DA chalks up another win in it's continuing crackdown on prison contraband.

By now, you've seen the video. Prisoners with contraband inside of the old house of detention.

And the issue is once again center stage in criminal court.

"Weapons, cell phones, drugs - there's a laundry list of things that don't belong in a prison facility," said city councilmember Jason Williams, who was called to criminal court to take the stand. He was called not as a councilmember, but as the former attorney for the man on trial, Keith Kisack. 

"It's not the first time. It's not as much fun when you can't ask the questions," said Williams.

Williams sent text messages to Kisack on a contraband phone found in Kisack's jail cell, something that's strictly prohibited. But Williams testified if he had known that the texts were going to an illegal prison phone, he wouldn't have done it.

"I certainly would not have," said Williams, "It's an ethical obligation I follow all laws, and wouldn't want my client to get into more trouble."

Williams said he thought he was relaying messages through family members, claiming an obligation to return messages to all clients.

"It's one of the things many lawyers get in trouble for," said Williams.

During cross examination, Kisack's attorney Ike Spears accused the Orleans Parish Sheriff of running a sham investigation and called for a mistrial, which was denied.

"The evidence is overwhelming that this was something that was just floating around the jail," said Spears co-counsel Eusti Phillips.

Spears and his co-counsel chastised deputy Ernest Williams for not DNA testing the phone or checking out nearly 130 other contacts in the phone's memory.

"There were 240 text messages in that phone, only 20 were connected to Mr Isaac," said Phillips. Prosecutors said they had no burden to prove that others used the phone. They said there only concern was Kisack, the man on trial. 

Now a sitting councilmember, Jason Williams worries about ongoing problems with prison contraband and has concerns about his former client.

"Every time I wait for a jury I say a prayer, gods will be done. Whatever happens, happens," said Williams.

Keith Isaac faces 20 years in prison on the contraband charge. But the DA's office says he still faces a murder charge and will be multiple billed, meaning he could face even more time behind bars.

The defense put up no witnesses, and Kisack himself, did not testify.

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