NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans Juvenile Court Judge Yolanda King has pleaded not guilty to charges that she falsified her address last year when qualifying to run.
The New Orleans Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1hmUOM9) King’s attorney, Clarence Roby Jr., entered the plea Monday while King stood silently before Criminal District Court Judge Arthur Hunter.
Hunter set bail at $30,000 for King, and then released her on her own recognizance.
King declined to comment as she left the courtroom, refusing to say whether she stands by the affidavit she filed last year in which she stated that she lived at 5336 Stillwater Drive. That was a lie, according to prosecutors with state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office. King actually lived in St. Tammany Parish, prosecutors allege.
“I’m not saying anything. Thank you,” King said as she left the courtroom. Roby also declined to comment.
A grand jury indicted King Thursday accusing her of falsifying public records and forging election documents.
Caldwell’s office initiated the probe not long after King won her judgeship last May in a surprise runoff victory.
To run for office, candidates must sign a sworn statement that attests to their address and that they are a registered voter in the parish. King, 54, signed her election affidavit on Feb. 13, 2013, two months before the April 6 primary for the Section E seat that Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier vacated when she won a seat on the Criminal Court bench.
King’s claim of living in New Orleans drew fire during the campaign from candidate Cynthia Samuel, who lost in the primary but continued even afterward to accuse both King and second-place finisher Doug Hammel of residency violations.
Samuel said King claimed a homestead exemption in Slidell. Only owners who actually occupy a house may claim a homestead exemption.
Caldwell’s office renewed that allegation last week, saying King has claimed the exemption there since 2007.
During the race, King acknowledged owning a home in Slidell and didn’t dispute having a homestead exemption at the property. But she said it was a mistake and that her sister actually lived at that address, according to a report at the time in The Times-Picayune. King asserted she lived at another sister’s home in New Orleans.
Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office records show that the Stillwater Drive house is owned by Grace King and Jimmie Bobb.
The maximum penalty for filing a false public record is five years behind bars.
Hunter set King’s next court date for April 25.
Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com
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