Accusations fly after private investigator films sheriff at coffee shop

Accusations fly after private investigator films sheriff at coffee shop
Published: Nov. 11, 2015 at 2:52 AM CST|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 8:57 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Accusations fly after a private investigator, hired by David Vitter, films Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and others inside a coffee shop. On Tuesday, the sheriff opened up about the controversy.

"All I ever did was endorse Jay Dardenne," Normand said during a press conference. He questioned why a private investigator filmed him and a group of people on Oct. 23 at the Royal Blend coffee house. After the incident, deputies arrested Robert Frenzel and booked him with criminal mischief.

Pointing to cell phones, Normand explained, "We ultimately seized three devices, these two and a video camera."

The camera contained videos, one of which, Normand says, shows a private investigator coaching a woman on what to say to discredit a prostitute that Vitter has been tied to. The private investigator allegedly says in the video that the prostitution scandal was something the Vitter camp wanted to keep quiet during the election.

"It is obvious that that individual did not know that she and he were being recorded," Normand said.

The sheriff says he's bringing the evidence to the FBI. But FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says that might not make a difference in the election.

"Nothing's gonna come out from their mouths in the next two or three weeks, certainly," Raspanti said.

David Vitter contends Frenzel's actions were legal, and that he has also gone to the feds over possible criminal activity instead of making this a political issue.

"I didn't hold a press conference about it, I gave them affidavits with supporting documents and it's pretty different than holding a big presser 10 days out from the election which Edwards allies are doing today," Vitter said.

Monday at the Baton Rouge Press Club, Vitter accused Democratic supporter John Cummings of paying for false testimony against him. Cummings was at the coffee shop with Normand.

In a statement given to FOX 8 Tuesday night, a Vitter spokesperson said John Bel Edwards' political allies are "using their badges" to play politics.

The FBI will neither confirm nor deny it's looking into any of the allegations.

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