Gov. Landry continues LSP cover-ups, corruption as transfer of female trooper allegedly arises after problematic male trooper reportedly texted picture of his genitalia followed by text of: “You could have this!”

Lead-in photo feature supplied to us by the late C. B. Forgotston, who would frequently use the photo as he wrote about Louisiana State Police (LSP) coverups and corruption under then-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and then-LSP Col. Mike Edmonson.

On November 16, 2023, we openly posed the question of whether then-Gov. Elect Jeff Landry had, “boxed himself into two horrendously-bad choices for LSP Colonel:”  #1) the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association (LSA) ordained choice of Frank Besson, and #2) his long-time friend, Robert Hodges.

Then on March 6, 2024, when we provided this update on the prosecution of New Orleans physician Dr. Shiva Akula, we devoted 3-1/2 minutes of the video of that feature to the, “not a very good foot” that Sound Off Louisiana founder, Robert Burns, and Gov. Landry’s hand-picked LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges, have gotten off to (at least according to Burns’ version of events).  Let’s present just that 3-1/2 minutes of that video at this time:

March 6, 2024:  Burns explains that, in contrast to Billy Broussard, who has repeatedly praised LSP Col. Robert Hodges, Burns explains that he and Hodges have, “not started off on a very good foot,” and specifically references Hodges’ blocking of public records requests made by Burns.

In the preceding video, Burns indicated that, in one of the two instances of him making a public records request (which Landry/Hodges denied), he was, “willing to give Hodges the benefit of the doubt” in that Hodges has told Burns that records do not exist notwithstanding the fact that Burns has LSP sources who are adamant that they do in fact exist.

In the 26 days that have passed since we published that video, Burns has been provided with what he deems to be irrefutable evidence that the documents do in fact exist and that Hodges is merely being “less than candid” (a polite phrase that judges use with attorneys whom they assert are lying to the court) in telling Burns that they do not exist.  Hence, Burns is no longer willing to give Hodges, “the benefit of the doubt.”

What has provoked the ire of Burns even more is Gov. Jeff Landry, operating through his long-time friend, Robert Hodges, stonewalling Burns on obtaining a mere listing of transfers which have taken place under Hodges’ watch.  While Burns was vague about the nature of his request on the video above, that is what the request was.

As Burns indicated on the video above, LSP provided statutory provisions by which it asserts it can block Burns’ request for the documents.  Let’s supply Burns’ request and LSP’s response at this time (we’ve supplied hyperlinks to the referenced Louisiana statutes LSP asserted):

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Public Safety Services received a public information request from you on February 21, 2024. Your request mentioned:

“Documentation pertaining to any transfers within LSP departments. Feel free to provide as little documentation as may be the case in order to merely provide the following: 1) name of trooper transferred, 2) department transferred from, 3) department transferred to, and 4) effective date of transfer.”

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Public Safety Services has reviewed your request and has determined that the records requested are exempt from disclosure under FOIA for the following reasons:

Investigative Tools, Intelligence, Security – LA R. S. 44:3(A)(3) exempts investigative tools, intelligence and security information.

LA R. S. 44:3(A)(5) Records containing the identity of an undercover police officer or records which would tend to reveal the identity of an undercover police officer.

As Burns indicated on the video above, he altered the request to make it, “extremely benign.” Here is what Burns sent as a response:

….let’s do this:

I am modifying the public records request to EXCLUDE the trooper’s name regarding each transfer.

You may feel free to redact the name of the trooper or, if more convenient, produce a document indicating how many troopers have been transferred away from any given department and how many troopers have been into any given department.

LSP’s response?  They re-asserted the first statutory exemption referenced above!  That is NOT a joke!  So, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry and his hand-picked LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges, actually have the unmitigated gall to assert that merely providing the NUMBER of transfers into and out of various departments somehow compromises LSP’s “investigative tools, intelligence, and security information.”  Of all the responses we’ve ever gotten to the hundreds (if not thousands) of public records requests we’ve made in this blog’s nine-year existence, that one takes the cake!  It takes the absolute cake!

Now, our sources tell us that Hodges knows there is a ton of trooper anger over these transfers for which multiple sources have told us Hodges has done nothing more that place “his cronies” in the positions for which others were transferred out of.

We are certainly willing to accept those sources’ words for the angst Hodges’ actions have created among many affected troopers; however, we had a more direct reason for seeking the transfers:  we were looking for one name in particular to appear on the list to buttress what we were told happened that caused the transfer.

One of our absolute-best LSP sources contacted us and told us that a male trooper (whom we are declining to publish the name of) sent a text of his genitalia to a female trooper (whom we’re also declining to provide the name of) and followed that text up with a second text of, “You could have this!”

Our source tells us that Hodges has, “swept this whole matter under the rug” (hence our resurrection of Forgotston’s lead-in photo) by transferring the recipient of the offensive text messages to a different shift and providing the assurance that, “You won’t have to see him or interact with him going forward.”

Now, while we have made an editorial decision not to publish the name of the trooper who allegedly sent the offensive texts, that certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t know his name.

Furthermore, we made public records request for any complaint filed against the male trooper (which we were informed was an action taken by the female trooper).

While LSP has not yet provided any such complaint and, especially given LSP’s absolute stonewalling regarding the mere NUMBER of transfers into and out of various departments (we’ve been told that number is 120, with approximately 37 transfers to staff the resurrected Troop N in New Orleans), we certainly aren’t under any illusions that LSP would actually surrender such a document to us!

It’s intriguing, however, that, unlike the request for which Gov. Landry, again acting through long-time friend and LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges, has been “less than candid” about the existence of documents for another completely separate request,  LSP has declined to indicate to us that no complaint exists against the male sexting trooper as it did on that completely separate request!

Given that it has now been 14 days since we made the request for the complaint, combined with the fact that it took a mere couple of days for the response “less than candid” (our contention) entailing records not existing on that other completely separate request, we are firmly convinced that the complaint does in fact exist.

In fact, while LSP’s contrasting actions on our two requests do not constitute absolute proof of the existence of the complaint, we feel very, very strongly that the complaint document exists, thus we’re proceeding forward with this feature even without the complaint in our possession.

Gov. Landry’s stonewalling actions entailing our public record requests  merely continue a recurring theme for Landry dating back to his long sordid history of handing similar matters while serving as Attorney General, to wit:

1.  Actively protecting and running interference for the Head of his Criminal Division, Pat Magee, and his unwanted sexual communications to females in the AG office.

Eerily similar to what Gov. Landry appears to be doing with us, then-AG Jeff Landry actively fought The Advocate’s public records request entailing Magee just as he is fighting Sound Off Louisiana’s public records requests.  In fact, let’s embed the video from that article:

Advocate reporters Andrea Gallo and Gordon Russell discuss then-AG Jeff Landry’s defense of former Chief Criminal prosecutor Pat Magee.

What is galling beyond belief about the above matter is that then-AG Jeff Landry took the “bizarre” step of actually suing reporter Andrea Gallo (see beginning at the 6:00 mark of the video above and going forward to the 7:20 mark of the video) for her even making the public records request!

We watched the court hearing entailing Landry and Gallo transpiring before then-19th JDC Judge Tim Kelley (via Zoom as restrictions were still in place entailing Covid) and, quite frankly, it was an utter embarrassment to watch Landry’s attorneys explain why he sued Gallo!

Similarly to Gallo, since we are actively contemplating a lawsuit against Landry’s hand-picked LSP Colonel, Robert Hodges (particularly for his refusal to release any document demonstrating the NUMBER of transfers into and out of the various departments within  LSP) since he is LSP’s “Custodian of Records,” perhaps Landry is contemplating a similar lawsuit against Burns for having the gall to even make the recent public records requests.

Landry certainly set precedent in suing Gallo, so why should we have any inkling that we would be immune to such an asinine act on Landry’s part?

Well, all we can say is that, if he goes down that road, Burns is not going to be anywhere near as congenial as Gallo was regarding her matter.

By the way, for the record, The Advocate and Gallo retained prominent media attorney Scott Sternberg, and the end result was Gallo obtaining the requested record, and we taxpayers got hit with the tab for the legal fees associated with Landry’s asinine maneuver to block her efforts to delve into his good buddy Pat Magee!

2.  Landry’s sweetheart plea deal offered to alleged domestic abuser former LSP Trooper Michael Lynn Satcher II.  As followers of this blog know by now, Satcher showed his appreciation to Governor Landry’s generosity by allegedly re-offending mere days after he obtained Landry’s sweetheart plea deal.  For those curious, Satcher’s next court hearing on his most recent conduct is in a week (on Monday, April 8, 2024), and we’ll update his status once that hearing transpires.  In the meantime, he continues to be the guest of the Rapides Parish Prison, where he has now spent about four months.

While we work on an “end around” regarding Landry’s obstructionist acts in blocking our other public records requests, we’re going to conclude this feature by indicating our firm convictions as outlined below since we view this trooper’s alleged actions to be even more serious than those of Magee:

1.  Any LSP Trooper who would send a photo of his genetalia to a female trooper and follow that text photo up with a text of, “You could have this!” is a disgrace to the LSP uniform, has no business wearing it, and should be terminated immediately!

2.  Any LSP Colonel who actively engages in, “sweeping the whole incident under the rug” in the manner Hodges is alleged to have done is abjectly unqualified to serve as Colonel of LSP and should be removed from his position immediately.

3.  Any Governor who would either give the directive for an LSP Colonel to, “sweep the trooper’s alleged sex texting acts under the rug,” or condone such an act by his hand-picked LSP Colonel, is abjectly unqualified to serve as Governor of Louisiana and should be voted out of office in the 2027 gubernatorial election campaign.

When we gave Gov. Landry our “back-handed endorsement,” we made it clear our rationale for doing so was two-fold:  #1) the fact that it was inevitable that he was going to be the next Governor of Louisiana and, #2) we viewed an outright primary win where he got just barely over 50 percent of the vote to be preferable to a slaughtering of Democrat Shawn Wilson, a scenario in which we openly predicted a 65 percent plus vote for Landry.

In short, we expressed concern that Landry would engage in the exact type of “sweep under the rug” acts as Governor that we know first-hand that he did as Attorney General, and we wanted to be able to, during his first term as Governor, invoke the phrase, “Governor, half of the people of this state did NOT want you as Governor.”

We are choosing this matter to be our first occasion to invoke that phrase and openly making our sentiments known that, if he doesn’t take action to clean up the mess he has both inherited at LSP and that, through acts such as we’ve outlined in this feature, actually continue to perpetuate the disgraceful acts of LSP troopers, we are prepared to openly oppose his re-election efforts in 2027.

Somehow, we believe we may have plenty of company and, maybe, just maybe, U. S. Congressman Garret Graves had good reason for steadfastly refusing to ever hop on board the “Jeff Landry for Governor train.”

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