Attorney vows to call FBI over coffee shop taping

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - A prominent local attorney in the middle of a high-profile political incident shares more details about a bizarre encounter at an Old Metairie coffee shop. It happened on the eve of last month's gubernatorial primary, and the attorney said he has no plans to let it rest.

"I'm going to the FBI, I'm going to get that boy's license pulled and go after that company, too," attorney John Cummings said.

"I'm sure the FBI will look into it, but whether or not they take action, that's a different level of scrutiny," FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said.

Cummings was sitting at a coffee shop with Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand,  private investigator Danny Denoux and state Sen. Danny Martiny, when Normand noticed someone taping them.

A Jefferson Parish police report details how Normand confronted the man, identified as Dallas private investigator Robert Frenzel. Frenzel denied taping the group.

"And Newell said, 'you're a damn liar, I saw the screen, let me see.' And he said, 'it's my camera,'" said Cummings.

Cummings snapped a picture of Frenzel, who then ran from the shop. He was later arrested for criminal mischief. At the time, he admitted he was sent to spy on a man with a white beard. Cummings was the only one at the table with a beard.

A spokesman for David Vitter's campaign said Frenzel was doing oppositional research.

"Certain conversations can be taped, if there's no expectation of privacy," Raspanti said. "There's a question as to whether there is or not."

Cummings says Frenzel's recording device captured other images which he says may have been illegally obtained.

"The sheriff kept that phone, and everything he deleted he retrieved," Cummings said. "He's going to have a news conference. There are 11 other people he filmed, and so it's not over - it's serious. I'm going to go to the FBI, but not until after the 21st because it will look like it's political."

Cummings, a John Bel Edwards supporter, said even his wife was followed.

"Just because I'm opposed to him he has no right to come in and single me out, that's a police state," said Cummings.

We reached out to the Vitter campaign for comment, but they didn't want to talk. We also reached out to Frenzel's firm about these new developments. They declined comment, but in the past have said that what Frenzel did was not illegal.

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