Outside judge to oversee Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell credit card probe

Updated: Jan. 25, 2018 at 5:27 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled an "ad hoc" judge will be brought in to hear the city-issued credit card case against Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell.
That ruling is a win for Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

He has been fighting to have all of the Orleans Criminal Court judges recuse themselves as he digs into Cantrell's use of questionable taxpayer spending on the credit cards while she served as a councilwoman.

"From what my attorney has advised me, this is a procedural matter that has nothing to do with the merits of the case.  I am sure that a fair and impartial judge will be appointed ad hoc.  Meanwhile, I remain focused on the transition and the great work ahead for our city and my incoming administration," Cantrell said in a statement.

Landry has pointed out in the past that six criminal court judges refused to sign a subpoena to have Cantrell turn over records to the AG's Office. Five of those cited a conflict of interest.

"We will continue to oppose the Attorney General's efforts to disqualify Judge Laurie White and the rest of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.
We are confident that an ad hoc judge will agree that Judge White can fairly preside over this matter," attorney Billy Gibbens said in a statement on behalf of Cantrell.

Public records obtained by FOX 8 showed purchases on her city-issued credit card including drinks, turkeys, and even feminine products.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says based on Thursday's state supreme court ruling, it appears as if the "ad hoc" judge will be deciding whether Criminal Court Chief Judge Laurie White will be recused or not.

FOX 8 reached out to Orleans Parish Criminal District Court about this story, but the judicial administrator said they have no comment.

Public records show Cantrell reimbursed the city nearly $4,400 just before qualifying to run for mayor. The mayor-elect previously argued the charges she did not pay back were purchases made for outreach in the community.

No charges have been filed in the case. Cantrell has denied any wrongdoing.

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