LSU blocks employees from testifying under oath at state Capitol Thursday
BATON ROUGE - LSU says it won't allow any of its employees to answer questions from state legislators Thursday related to the school's ongoing Title IX scandal.
On Wednesday, lawmakers requested that LSU Athletics executive Sharon Lewis, who's filing a $50 million lawsuit against the university, appear at the April 8 hearing to answer questions about LSU's mishandling of sexual misconduct cases. State Senator Regina Barrow confirmed the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children asked Lewis to show up after both Coach Ed Orgeron and Athletics Director Scott Woodward declined to answer questions in person.
LSU blocked that request with a letter to lawmakers Wednesday, saying that "persons associated with" the university cannot answer questions under oath because of the pending lawsuit.
"Regrettably, in light of this threatened litigation, it would not be prudent for persons associated with LSU to provide testimony under oath at the senate committee meeting scheduled tomorrow," LSU Vice President of Legal Affairs & General Counsel Winston DeCuir Jr. said in the letter. "Allowing persons who will inevitably be witnesses in to testify under oath on facts related to these claims, is simply not a prudent risk."
Interim LSU President Tom Galligan was questioned about the letter Wednesday afternoon, to which he responded he would "follow advice of counsel."
Then, @LSUpresident said DeCuir -- again the school's attorney -- is "very uncomfortable" with anyone from LSU testifying at tomorrow's hearing.— Julie O'Donoghue (@JSODonoghue) April 7, 2021
"I'm going to follow advice of counsel," said Galligan, an employment law expert and LSU law school prof. #lalege
Lewis is filing the lawsuit Wednesday alleging LSU and her bosses in the athletics department covered up misconduct that ultimately surfaced with the Husch Blackwell report.
Orgeron, Woodward and Lewis were among about a dozen people asked to testify Thursday. That list included Vicki Crochet, an attorney with the Taylor Porter law firm who handled the 2013 investigation into allegations of misconduct against then-football coach Les Miles.
Crochet announced Wednesday afternoon that she also backed out of the hearing, citing her "ethical and legal duties."
As of April 7, only a handful of those listed on the agenda are now expected to appear.
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