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Grand jury hearing involving Ascension president postponed until Friday

8 months 1 week 3 days ago Tuesday, November 15 2016 Nov 15, 2016 November 15, 2016 10:04 AM November 15, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

GONZALES - The Louisiana Attorney General's Office will take over a bribery investigation involving Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa.

Ascension Parish District Attorney Ricky Babin told Chris Nakamoto, the chief investigator of WBRZ's Investigative Unit, the A.G. will handle the case going forward because Babin's office has a conflict. Babin said he learned Monday, some members of his office donated to Matassa's campaign.

     > The Pelican Post, an on-line newspaper in Ascension Parish, reported Sunday the donation came from one of the DA's office top prosecutors. Clicik HERE for the story.

To eliminate any appearance of impropriety, Babin said he felt he needed to recuse his office. The development happened a day before the case was set to go before a grand jury in Ascension Parish.  The A.G.'s office had previously been working with the local D.A.'s office so attorneys were familiar with the case.

Tuesday, the A.G. announced the hearing for that day was postponed until Friday when a new grand jury is seated.  

“In light of the recent recusal and expiration of the current grand jury, we will continue any presentation before the newly seated grand jury which is expected to be in place by this Friday, November 18. This does not change the nature of the investigation or our presentation," the A.G.'s office said in a statement Tuesday morning. 

Matassa was elected to Parish President at the end of 2015. Months later, this summer, recordings surfaced of Matassa offering a man who was running for a Gonzales City Council seat cash and a parish job to exit the race. Some questioned whether the recordings were proof of a bribe and Babin's office investigated.

Matassa's attorney has argued there was no impropriety.

"The word bribe is being loosely used here," Matassa's attorney, Lance Unglesby, has said in previous WBRZ reports.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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