Hacking allegations lead to stay in Roper lawsuit
BATON ROUGE - A judge granted a stay in the public records lawsuit filed by former East Baton Rouge Parish attorney Mary Roper Thursday in order to give time to an investigation into allegations someone may have hacked into communications between attorneys in the case.
Judge Tim Kelley granted a 30-day stay to see how things pan out with the criminal investigation into the claims. Police searched Roper's home this past weekend, and the warrant said someone from the house hacked into the city's email 17 times since her firing in September. Roper is now suing the parish over her ousting.
Attorney Murphy Foster, who is defending the city in the lawsuit, said if the allegations are true Roper could have all their plans for the case. Foster said he corresponded back and forth about the suit with the parish attorney's office, and if Roper or someone connected to her had access to that communication it would jeopardize the integrity of their case.
"The way the legal process is set up, one side is not supposed to read the papers of the other side's attorneys," Foster said. "I don't know if they have but the process is in question."
Roper's attorney pushed Thursday to hold the scheduled hearing, and said the hacking investigation had nothing to do with their public records lawsuit.
"The day of reckoning will come," Wade Shows said. "Ms. Roper will not back down, and justice will be served."
Another controversy emerged in court today, when Roper's attorney filed a motion to hold Metro Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle in contempt of court. It comes over alleged actions after the last Roper court hearing where Marcelle testified.
"You're not supposed to talk about the case," Shows said. "After her testimony she approached a deputy sheriff one who served her in the elevator and told him, you're not my friend anymore....this is wasting taxpayer money."
"Ms. Marcelle wasn't here to defend herself she had a family emergency in north Louisiana, and she is more than willing to attend and respond to it."
All sides are due back in court in January. The contempt motion will be heard separately from the public records lawsuit.