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At the risk of appearing judgmental in a matter that is far from resolution, there’s a certain irony in the case of David Opperman, the West Feliciana Parish attorney and former prosecutor who now stands accused of sexually molesting a minor 17 years ago.

Opperman was INDICTED  last Thursday by a parish grand jury on two counts of aggravated rape and a single county of sexual battery after the attorney general’s office filed the indictment accusing him of assaulting a girl in West Feliciana Parish in 2003.

Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office became involved when 29th JDC District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla was recused from the case. Opperman, who once served as D’Aquilla’s wife’s attorney, unsuccessfully opposed D’Aquilla for district attorney in 2014.

That was a bitter political dispute and only served to draw attention to a judicial district that has more problems that bubble far beneath the surface. In court filings, Opperman accuses D’Aquilla of having a sexual relationship with former coroner Laura Dejohn.

Dejohn, in turn, pleaded not guilty to malfeasance in office, criminal conspiracy and injuring public documents in June. She is accused of failing to keep records and for submitting fraudulent billing invoices for unlicensed medical services.

Opperman said D’Aquilla had a PERSONAL VENDETTA against him and was prosecuting him in an effort to keep him (Opperman) from investigating the Dejohn matter. He claims he was cooperating in a federal criminal investigation of D’Aquilla when he was accused in 2017 of molestation.

D’Aquilla’s wife considered divorcing him over his affair with Dejohn and she engaged the legal services of Opperman at the time, which would’ve compounded an already erupting animosity between the two lawyers.

It is important to remember that a district attorney has almost total control over grand jury proceedings because defense attorneys are not allowed to observe deliberations. The DA can pick and choose evidence that he wants to present and ignore that which he doesn’t want the grand jury to hear. Hence the oft-voiced expression that a DA can indict a ham sandwich if he so chooses.

Opperman, 58, who currently lives in St. Francisville, has served as a prosecutor in several venues, including an assistant district attorney for the 1st Judicial District in Caddo Parish, the 19th JDC in Baton Rouge and the 7th JDC in Catahoula and Concordia parishes.

And it is his tenure in the 7th JDC that serves as the irony in this sordid little story.

In 2009, Opperman was the PROSECUTING ATTORNEY in a Concordia Parish case in which a man received a life sentence after a two-day trial in which he was found guilty of one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated incest.

In that case, the defendant’s daughter was at a Baptist church in Natchez, Mississippi, attending a youth class with her siblings and father. At some point, it became apparent she had run away and when found, at first refused to return to the church.

When she was finally persuaded by church workers to return, she revealed that her father was having sex with her. At trial, she testified that her father began engaging in sex with her when she was about nine years old. She said the assaults occurred more than 100 times over the years until April 2009, when she reported him.

The defendant’s conviction was subsequently upheld on appeal.

But back to the 20th JDC controversy.

Opperman may be a sleazebag or he may be a victim. There is simply no way to determine at this point. Our constitution says that every accused person – without exception – is deemed innocent until proven guilty and that he/she is entitled to a legal defense.

Opperman is fortunate that he can afford expert legal counsel in defense attorney Jim Boren. Not all criminal defendants are lucky enough to afford such expensive legal defense. Many are assigned public defenders who are (a) underpaid, (b) overworked and (c) lacking in the financial resources to engage expert witnesses like their counterparts at the prosecution table who have virtually unlimited funds to pursue convictions.

Be that as it may, this issue has exploded in a volatile atmosphere, pitting two bitter political opponents against each other. That instantly clouds the situation, leaving many unanswered questions as to the motives of the prosecution and the innocence or guilt of the defendant.

I know the system better than anybody else and I’m the only one up here that’s going to be able to fix that system, because that system is wrong.”

—Donald Trump, in a March 2016 Republican primary debate.

We’re going to go to Washington. We’re going to drain the swamp.”

—Trump, at a North Carolina rally in 2016. [A promise unfulfilled.]

I am going to ask Congress to pass a campaign-finance reform that prevents registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in American elections.”

—Trump, in a 2016 campaign speech in Green Bay, Wisc. [Another broken promise.]

It’s a meaningless piece of paper that was just put out to live up to the ‘drain the swamp’ promise. No one takes it seriously.”

—Craig Holman, lobbyist for the government watchdog group Public Citizen, speaking about Trump’s executive order imposing a five-year ban on lobbying after leaving government service, pointing out that 33 former Trump administration officials are currently doing just that.

The whole administration has taken Trump’s tone — self-dealing, self-enriching, enriching your friends and families — that’s smart, if you listen to Trump.”

—Holman, pointing out the fallacy of expecting Trump to follow through on any of his promises.

We will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages.”

—Letter from attorney Marc Kasowitz to The Lincoln Project on behalf of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner over a Times Square billboard that cast the pair in a bad light over the Trump administration’s abysmal response to the coronavirus pandemic. [Awww, Ken and Barbie gonna sue…just like Daddy told ’em to do.]

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes):

“In my opinion, we don’t devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for losers.”

Politics makes for strange bedfellows.

So, too, does money.

And when you combine politics and money, things can get really strange.

Take the case of Thomas “Tommy” Hayes, IV, son of retiring Federal Magistrate Karen Hayes.

Tommy-4 is running for state district court judge for the 4th Judicial District which includes the parishes of Ouachita and Morehouse.

It’s not as though the 4th JDC isn’t already bizarre enough, what with a clerk who doesn’t like to come to work and who coverts court filings into end tables for her office despite the fact that the filings were part of an important lawsuit pending in 4th JDC.

And it’s not as if State Inspector General Stephen Street or Attorney General Jeff Landry were on the spot looking out for the interest of justice in the matter – they weren’t. Both punted the issue and the clerk continues on the job, protected by her benefactors, the sitting judges in the 4th JDC.

But now, Tommy-4 has posted on his Facebook page how honored he is to be the “only candidate running for Division B to receive the official endorsement of (the) Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s NorthPAC.”

LABI, as the association is affectionately known, runs four political action committees, the reason for four distinct and separate PACs being rather vague: NorthPAC, SouthPAC, EastPAC and WestPAC.

It’s also not entirely clear why only one of LABI’s directional PACs graced Hayes with an endorsement but he went on to gush on his Facebook page that “LABI’s PACs only endorsed 34 candidates statewide, identifying those who will evenly apply the law, support transparency and make a more accountable court system for our citizens. I’m pleased to be in that number.”

He might also have said that LABI only supports those candidates who will, in whatever capacity they may be elected to serve, make decisions that coincide with the political philosophy of the corporate interests that helped put them there – never mind this silly business of the so-called rule of law.

Check those mailers you receive in your home from the various judicial candidates. They invariably boast of the candidate’s love of the Second Amendment (to the exclusion of the remaining 26 amendments), pro-life (an issue that rarely comes before state district courts anyway), maximum sentences, blah, blah, blah, but nothing about strict interpretation of the law.

So, why did LABI decide to endorse Hayes? Well, I can give you about 30,700 reasons.

You see, LABI issued a glowing PRESS RELEASE back on Feb. 28, 2018, to announce the hiring of one Marie DesOrmeaux Centanni as Director of Public Affairs. In the release, LABI President/CEO Stephen Waguespack even went so far as to say LABI was “excited” to bring her on board “in this newly-created position, to develop and implement political and communications strategies to advance several new advocacy ventures.”

Hiring Centanni “is the latest move in a series of changes at LABI designed to put free enterprise in the best position with an eye towards the 2019 election cycle,” the release said. “She will coordinate with Political Director John Diez in cultivating candidates and growing capacity for LABI’s Political Action Committees, and sharpening the organization’s general communication.”

LABI even carries a photo and bio on Centanni on its WEB PAGE.

So, the question that must be asked is this: If LABI went to the trouble of (a) endorsing Hayes and (b) paying Centanni “to develop and implement political and communications strategies,” why, then, has the Hayes campaign been paying Centanni for those same services during his current campaign for the 4th JDC judgeship?

Centanni, it seems, founded Centanni Communications, LLC back on Jan. 6, 2009, according to corporate records on file with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office, which listed Marie DesOrmeaux Centanni as the company’s agent of record and its only officer.

And while Centanni may be working for LABI “to develop and implement political and communications strategies,” she has been paid some pretty nice fees by Hayes. On Feb. 19 of this year, she was paid a $10,000 “consulting” fee, according to campaign finance reports on file with the Louisiana Board of Ethics and on June 1, she pocketed another $10,000 for “campaign management.” Then, on July 30, she was paid another $10,000 as Hayes’s “campaign manager.” Three weeks earlier, on July 7, she received $700 for “advertising/signs.”

That’s $30,700 in less than seven months – all while we were under the impression she was performing those same functions for a paycheck from LABI.

People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots. And yet we keep him. Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci is a disaster.”

—Donald Trump, on Dr. Anthony Fauci. [Okay, how many of us couldn’t see that coming?]

I do not and nor will I ever publicly endorse any political candidate. They’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad, which I thought was outrageous.”

—Dr. Fauci, in an interview on ’60 minutes’ last Sunday. [And yet, Trump turns right around and publicly trashes Fauci. Something seriously ain’t right about this boy Trump.]

My wife has the gift of premonition. Last night she dreamed that Federal squads were in our home seizing guns, knives, ‘unauthorized foods’ and stored water. They said we had been ‘reported.’ Becca awoke crying. What happened to our freedom? she asked. What indeed.”

—Tweet by U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District. [Words fail me.]

This is what we are up against. Help us out. We are in the middle of filming three tv ads as we speak, to push in the final days.”

—Tweet by Rob Anderson, who is opposing idiot Higgins, in response to that Higgins tweet.]

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes):

Trump: “I’m a genius. I can’t believe how smart I am. I’ve got more brains than I know what to do with.”

Nancy Pelosi: “So I’ve noticed.”

President Trump and his advisers have repeatedly discussed whether to fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after Election Day — a scenario that also could imperil the tenure of Attorney General William P. Barr as the president grows increasingly frustrated that federal law enforcement has not delivered his campaign the kind of last-minute boost that the FBI provided in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter.”

—The Washington Post, Oct. 21, 2020. [Anyone surprised by this? Anyone?]

I’m not just running against Biden, I’m running against the left-wing media, the big tech giants, and the Washington swamp, and I’ve been running against it from the beginning. And here I am, all by myself.”

—Donald Trump, during a rally in Arizona this week. [Is there a more pathetic, self-pitying titty-baby anywhere?]

“The great thing about President Trump is you always know where you stand with him, and it is him continuing to be the most transparent president in U.S. history.”

—Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller. [Uh…you may wish to ask Comey, Mattis, Tillerson, Scaramucci, McGahn, Sessions, Fiona Hill, Dan Coats, Reince Priebus, John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, H.R. McMaster, John Bolton, Alexander Vindman, Peter Navarro, Andrew McCabe, Christopher Wray, William Barr, et al, about that “knowing where you stand” B.S.

Donald Trump has told us openly that he is planning to steal the election. In recent months he has explicitly declared that any election in which he does not win will have been rigged and illegitimate. He has claimed repeatedly and against all evidence that mail-in ballots are invalid. There has been remarkably little discussion of how to stop Trump. In the face of open declarations of plans to overthrow the tattered remnants of democracy in this country, American exceptionalism seems to have lulled many people into a false sense of complacency that a coup cannot happen in the US. But a coup will have taken place if all votes are not counted and honored, and Trump’s attacks on mail-in ballots suggests this is exactly the strategy he intends to pursue.”

—Ashley Dawson, professor of postcolonial studies at City University of New York. [There can be little doubt left that Trump is both deranged and dangerous. To justify his reelection on a single issue such as his being pro-life (he really isn’t) or a robust economy (which he inherited but squandered) is to embark on a suicide mission and to take the country with you.]

Governor Gretchen Whitmer displayed an “86 45” sign during her TV appearance. 86 can be shorthand for killing someone. Whitmer is encouraging assassination attempts against President Trump just weeks after someone sent a ricin-laced package to the White House.”

—Tweet by the Trump War Room. [Good God, these people have truly lost their freakin’ minds! Never knew 86 meant killing someone. I did know that it’s a code for bartenders to say “no more” to those who have had too much to drink. So, “no more” to Trump makes perfect sense in this context. Reading something into that that’s just not there doesn’t (but we do know the connotations associated with “war room.”)]

NOT A TRUMP QUOTE, but it should be (with apologies to Cavin & Hobbes):

Trump: “Do you think our morality is defined by our actions, or by what’s in our hearts?”

Lindsey Graham: “I think our actions show what’s in our hearts.”

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