Iberia

Apr 17, 2012 6:38 PM by Tonya LaCoste

Attorney General: Romero's allegations against DA Phil Haney "totally without merit"

Allegations against 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney are "totally without merit," according to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. In February, Iberia Parish President Errol "Romo" Romero asked the attorney general to investigate Haney's office. Romero wanted the DA's office to reimburse parish government for paying Haney and his assistant district attorneys' insurance premiums. According to Romero, payments are illegal according to the Parish Charter. Romero asked Haney to reimburse the parish $302, 441.86 which was paid from January 1, 2008 through January 1, 2012. The attorney general determined "payment of those premiums is unquestionably legal, and in fact common practice statewide."

The attorney general's office examined affidavits, documents and took additional statements and "cleared the district attorney's office of any wrongdoing whatsoever." "In fact, the main unresolved questions are the motivations of those individuals presenting misleading or misrepresenting affidavits about district attorney office authority for the purpose of having that, or the members of that office ever investigated," said Caldwell.

As for Romero's claim about the District Attorney's office coercing voters to vote for a particular candidate, Caldwell said affidavits submitted to his office were misleading. "It was determined through interviews that much of the language submitted in these affidavits was misleading." During witness interviews, witnesses said they were first presented with a different affidavit which they refused to sign, according to Caldwell. Witnesses were given a second affidavit which many of them were under the impression that this was going into a file that wouldn't be made public. "When questioned specifically, no one admitted that they were forced, threatened, intimidated or coerced to support a particular candidate. Nor did anyone admit that they were summoned to the district attorney's office for this purpose," said Caldwell. According to Caldwell, "There is absolutely no evidence that any type criminal activity took place on the part of the District Attorney or any members of his staff."

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