ST. BERNARD PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Former St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta pleaded no contest Friday to three counts of his 22-count indictment.
Peralta entered a no-contest plea to two felony counts and one misdemeanor stalking count. He had been facing up to 10 years in prison, but the judge instead sentenced him to 60 days of house arrest, two years of supervised probation and more than $2,000 in fines. He has also been ordered to undergo a a psychiatric evaluation and participate in an anger management program.
Peralta accepted the felony malfeasance in office charge, a felony abuse of power charge and the misdemeanor stalking charge. As part of his probation, the judge told Peralta he can not have any contact with his ex-wife unless it is through his attorney.
The plea deal also means that the rest of the 19 charges he was facing are dismissed. The DA's office told the court they had emails and letters linking Peralta to the stalking charge of his ex-wife, and investigators told the judge they also had evidence against Peralta to prove he used public services in St. Bernard parish for personal use while he was parish president.
Peralta said he is relieved to have avoided jail.
"I'm relieved. It's been a long two years," he said. "As many of y'all know, I lost my brother a few weeks ago, which made it an even tougher task, and our special needs child, he's doing OK but is not as good as what he needs to be. So there's been a lot in my personal life that's been going on."
Peralta is also facing charges out of East Baton Rouge for alleged misuse of campaign finances. As part of his agreement with the Attorney General's office, Peralta is set to pay the Ethics Board a fine. And pending an outcome of an ongoing investigation and the payment of the fine, the state is ready to dismiss those charges, as well.