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Mayor not in court for lawsuit hearing

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PORT ALLEN - Mayor Deedy Slaughter was not in court this morning, even though a judge ordered her to appear for a hearing over a lawsuit filed by Port Allen City Council members.

The mayor's new attorney, Ron Johnson of Baton Rouge, chose to waive her appearance.

The council members petition includes claims Slaughter increased her salary by $20,000 without the council's permission and used taxpayer dollars to pay her attorney's fees. Slaughter is also accused of taking a taxpayer-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in January with no record of conducting any city business.

In court, Slaughter's new attorney questioned whether the council members broke open meeting laws by filing the suit. Councilman Hugh Rivière said they met individually with the attorney, so no quorum was present, and they were not funding the lawsuit with taxpayer funds.

The hearing comes a week after a state auditor's report found Slaughter's actions may have violated state laws.

News 2 will have the latest from the court hearing beginning at noon.

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