JPSO Sheriff Joe Lopinto comments on surveillance video report, John Fortunato fires back

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto is commenting on an internal sheriff's office investigative report that says Lopinto asked a deputy to get a coffee shop's surveillance video of a meeting involving his campaign opponent John Fortunato.

Lopinto insisted he did not order any surveillance and has never seen the video.

FOX 8 obtained the complaint form and internal affairs case report Jan. 22 as a result of a public records request.

Lopinto requested the JPSO investigation, and according to the case report, in mid-October, Sergeant Rodney Naumann was off-duty when he spotted Fortunato and two former JPSO deputy chiefs at PJ's coffee in Elmwood.

The investigator's report said Naumann told Lopinto a few days later what he saw and that Lopinto asked for a photo of the meeting.

Naumann said he knew the coffee shop's owner and would inquire about the video.

Eventually, the report said two detectives took an early lunch break to help Naumann work through technical issues to get the video.

The investigator who signed off on the report's findings concluded that no one was ordered by the sheriff to obtain a video or photo and that no one intentionally violated the code of conduct.

Fortunato responded to Lopinto's claims on Wednesday, calling Lopinto "a deceitful politician who will lie to the public for his own personal gain."

Fortunato said he would fire Lopinto for lying to the public if he were sheriff. He said the internal affairs memo disproves statements that Lapinto made about the deputies working on their own without his consent.

Lopinto said the officers who were at the coffee shop would undergo counseling. He also said he did not know the officers, although the internal affairs report contradicts his statement.

Fortunato said the sheriff "threw his own deputies under the bus" and lied to cover up his tracks.

The special election is set for March 24.