- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LIVINGSTON, La. (AP) - A state court judge said she will decide next week whether to throw out the criminal charges or suppress evidence against former Livingston Parish contractor Corey delaHoussaye.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1E5WlWg ) DelaHoussaye faces 59 counts of falsifying public records and theft for allegedly overbilling Livingston Parish for wetlands mitigation work after Hurricane Gustav in 2008. He has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney John McLindon argued Monday before Judge Brenda Ricks that the state Office of Inspector General had no authority to investigate delaHoussaye’s billing and, even if it had, the evidence was gathered using nonexistent search warrant powers and illegal subpoenas.

McLindon said the inspector general is authorized to investigate only “covered agencies,” which are defined by law as bodies of the state’s executive branch. The Livingston Parish Council, which hired delaHoussaye’s firm, does not qualify as a covered agency, McLindon claimed.

Ben Plaia, legal counsel for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, testified Monday that GOHSEP is the body that controls access to the federal emergency funding distributed after disasters like Hurricane Gustav. Any reimbursements the parish received for delaHoussaye’s work would have flowed through GOHSEP, a cabinet-level state agency.

McLindon also argued that the charges against delaHoussaye are too vague.

Ricks gave both sides until Friday to put their arguments in writing and said she will issue a decision next week.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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