New Orleans DA facing takeover of office

NOLA:

A somber Mayor Ray Nagin told City Council members Friday to brace themselves for an unprecedented event: a possible state takeover of embattled District Attorney Eddie Jordan's office that could come as soon as Monday.

"I think we're headed for this fork in the road," Nagin said during an early evening visit to a downtown hotel suite where the council had been gathered much of the day for its annual retreat.

Nagin told council members that the 2008 operating budget he will submit to them next week will include no money to pay any portion of the $3.7 million federal civil rights judgment Jordan is facing for wrongly firing white workers in 2003.

The mayor said that decision was made in consultation with the city attorney, who earlier in the day informed the City Council that the cash-strapped city government has no legal obligation to pay the debt as Jordan has requested. Council members went on record this week as being against any bailout for Jordan.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the discrimination case said this week they are prepared to seize assets of the district attorney's office -- including payroll accounts -- if Jordan's office does not pay up. Jordan's aides say if any accounts are seized, prosecutors will quit en masse and the office will shut down.

...

Under what he called a "worst case scenario," Nagin said state Attorney General Charles Foti is prepared to step in on a moment's notice and assume management of Jordan's office.

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There is interest in the state legislature in impeaching Jordon. One candidate for the Louisiana Attorney General's office has called for Jordon's impeachment.

Jordon will never be confused with Rudy Giuliani when it comes to being an effective prosecutor. New Orleans continues to be a failure when it comes to apprehending and prosecuting criminals. Its murder rate is ridiculous. Young black men are killing each other at an alarming rate, even as the population has shrunk. Racist employment practices are just one of Jordon's problems.

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