Covering Louisiana

Apr 4, 2013 11:44 AM by AP

Sheriff testifies in hearing on Orleans jail

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The keeper of the New Orleans jail says he signed a proposed agreement for jail improvements with the U.S. Justice Department to boost public confidence in the lockup - even though he doesn't admit that inmates' federal rights are being violated.

Sheriff Marlin Gusman, under questioning by a city lawyer, said many requirements in the agreement were being done before he signed the pact.

The city is highly critical of Gusman and is fighting federal court approval of the agreement - saying it could force the city to pour more money into a badly run facility.

Gusman's Thursday testimony follows the release of an inmate video showing drug use and weapon possession in a cell.

The city's questions also touched recent corruption convictions of two former jail officials.

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