Judge removed from string of cases after trial's abrupt end
BATON ROUGE - The mystery behind unusual happenings in a federal judge's courtroom is deepening. Court records show the judge has removed herself from more than two dozen cases since a trial she presided over abruptly ended last month.
The one-page orders reviewed by The Associated Press say U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi asked for at least 27 cases to be reassigned, but no reason is given.
On Dec. 6, a trial in Minaldi's Lake Charles courtroom was cut short without explanation before a jury could be picked to hear the case against a man charged with producing child pornography. Chief Judge Dee Drell said in an order that he was exercising his prerogative in canceling that trial and reassigning it to himself.