- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 22 criminal charges at an arraignment in Chalmette.

Nola.comThe Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1NNLfef ) that the plea was entered on charges brought by a St. Bernard Parish grand jury that include11 counts of malfeasance in office, six abuse of power counts, three obstruction of justice counts, one of extortion and one of stalking.

Peralta also faces a felony stalking charge in St. Tammany Parish. That case involves an allegation that he sent threatening email messages to his ex-wife. In East Baton Rouge Parish, Peralta is charged with filing false reports and perjury.

Peralta has called all the charges against him a politically motivated attack.

The East Baton Rouge Parish case involves allegations that he illegally used his political campaign money to gamble at New Orleans and Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos and lied to a Baton Rouge grand jury about it.



He has said he legally used his campaign money for meals and meetings at casinos and that he didn’t use campaign money to gamble.

After Peralta’s indictment last month in St. Bernard, arraignment was set for November, but Peralta and defense attorney Martin Regan asked for a speedy trial, saying he wants to be tried before the Oct. 24 election. State prosecutors agreed to move up the arraignment.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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