Attorney says he was cooperating with the feds in wide-ranging investigation of Louisiana DA--which included allegations of destruction of evidence--when the DA accused him of molesting a teenage girl 15 years ago. https://t.co/X0mx8QZP8U— Ethan Brown (@ethanbrown72) July 3, 2018
The district attorney for the 20th judicial district of Louisiana, which covers East Feliciana and West Feliciana parishes, is recusing himself from a case involving a former political adversary.
District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla fended off an election challenge from lawyer David Opperman in 2014. Opperman is being charged with molestation that took place in 2003, but he alleges that much of his woes stem from a personal vendetta that the current DA has against him.
Opperman last year had gone to the FBI to suggest D’Aquilla had abused his wife, who was Opperman’s client at the time when D’Aquilla was facing possible divorce from his spouse. Opperman also said D’Aquilla had an improper affair with the former district’s coroner, which led to his wife seeking out the divorce in the first place. The lawyer additionally alleged that D’Aquilla planted evidence in some crimes.
The FBI listened to Opperman but stepped away from him after he himself was arrested on molestation charges in December. Opperman said he thinks that the charges were levied against him because he went to the FBI against D’Aquilla.
The “knowledge of Mr. Opperman's involvement in the federal investigation against him gives D'Aquilla a personal interest in the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Opperman, since Mr. Opperman's criminal charges have prevented him from being a helpful source for the FBI in the criminal investigation against D'Aquilla,” Opperman’s lawyer wrote in a statement requesting recusal.
In another specific example of how D’Aquilla possibly abused his authority, Opperman accused him of destroying DNA evidence that would have embarrassingly linked D’Aquilla as being related to an accused person who had been charged with sex crimes against minors. Opperman said he believes a 3-year prison plea deal for that individual was provided by D’Aquilla for that person based on their familial relationship.
D’Aquilla denied all the charges leveled against him made by Opperman, calling them “absurd and ridiculous.” Still, he plans to step aside in the case involving Opperman “to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” he said.
This wouldn’t be the first instance of a corrupt judicial system in Louisiana working the system against a resident there. But Opperman’s charges also seem to stem from a strong motivation of saving himself from possible prison time by making it seem like he’s being singled out.
The Louisiana justice system must work this all out and determine what course of action is necessary for all parties involved. It needs to figure out whether Opperman deserves to spend time behind bars and whether D’Aquilla acted improperly while serving as judicial district attorney.
Both charges must be taken seriously, and they require unbiased scrutiny from whomever is carrying out their respective investigations.
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