AG's investigation into Cantrell's spending likely finished befo - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

AG's investigation into Cantrell's spending likely finished before inauguration

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

The six-month-long transition period before New Orleans Mayor-Elect Latoya Cantrell takes office will likely be enough time for investigators at Attorney General Jeff Landry's office to decide whether formal charges are necessary. 

"That gives the AG plenty of time for his office to resolve this matter before Mayor-Elect Cantrell is sworn in," FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman said. 

Tuesday, Cantrell sent an email to the media outlining her transition into office. The email states how Cantrell will first attend a conference for newly-elected mayors at Harvard University this week.

But for the second day in a row, Cantrell failed to address the ongoing criminal investigation she faces. 

"This is both a distraction and an unanticipated event to her with huge consequences, so she needs to deal with it," Sherman said. "During the campaign, it was to test voters about whether or not they entrusted Mayor-Elect Cantrell with their money, and they answered affirmatively that they do. Now, the question switches to a legal arena whether any laws were violated. It's a different question the attorney general will be asking."

The AG's office is digging into Cantrell's use of city-issued credit cards, much of what was released during her campaign for office. Public records show Cantrell reimbursed the city nearly $8,000 during her four years as councilwoman for items she purchased with the card. Receipts revealed purchases of candy, drinks, feminine products and turkeys, some of which Cantrell calls "community outreach" and did not pay back. 

Whether or not the AG files formal charges against her, Cantrell could still be sworn in as mayor. Cantrell has said since the purchases were made public, she did nothing wrong.  

Sherman warns that since Landry may have political aspirations of his own, the AG could be using the New Orleans controversy to further his career. 

"We haven't learned any new information yet than what came out during the campaign, but the question here is this a serious criminal investigation or is this an attorney general looking to be governor at some point, looking for a political win here. Is this political or legal? Only time will tell," he said. 

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