- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A Louisiana state senator involved in two domestic violence incidents reluctantly resigned Thursday, rather than face likely removal by colleagues who described him as unfit for the Senate.

Sen. Troy Brown, D-Geismar, stepped down from his position a day after senators moved ahead with historic expulsion proceedings. His resignation was effective immediately.

“It is readily apparent to me that a fair and impartial hearing before my peers will never transpire,” Brown said to reporters, reading from his resignation letter.

He added that he was leaving the elected job “rather than cause further enormous expenditure of limited taxpayer resources and further division among my colleagues in a process which is already predetermined.”

Brown pleaded no contest twice over the past year to misdemeanor charges involving abuse against women. He served jail time last month.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, said Brown’s resignation lets the Senate focus on the primary purpose of the current special legislative session - closing a $304 million budget deficit - rather than continuing with disciplinary matters.

“Also, it brings closure to thousands of victims of domestic violence who have followed this process,” Morrell said in a statement. “The Louisiana State Senate stands with victims of domestic violence and is committed to protecting those without a voice.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday that Brown “made the right decision.”

“I hope he is able to get the help he needs for himself and that his family is able to heal,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

As he announced his resignation, Brown continued to suggest that senators’ disciplinary efforts had gone too far for misdemeanor crimes and that he’d been denied the opportunity to defend himself. He said senators “did what they thought was best more from a political standpoint, as opposed to a moral and practical standpoint.”

Procedural votes in the Senate’s expulsion effort suggested it would be successful, removing a sitting senator for what officials believed would have been only the second time in Louisiana history.

Before he resigned, Brown had tried to stop the disciplinary proceedings, seeking intervention Wednesday from the district court in Baton Rouge. A judge denied his request for a temporary restraining order, however, and set a hearing on the petition for a permanent injunction after the Senate would have voted on the expulsion legislation.

Brown pleaded no contest in January to a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse battery, arising from allegations he bit his wife’s arm. He pleaded no contest in September to a misdemeanor simple battery charge stemming from allegations he punched a girlfriend.

“I think I’ve apologized a thousand times, and I wish I could do it a thousand more times,” Brown said. “And I will continue to apologize. I will continue to get better. We all make mistakes in life.”

Brown had only one public defender in the Senate, Sen. Yvonne Dorsey Colomb, D-Baton Rouge, who said she had been abused by an ex-husband but also believed people should be given second chances. Colomb stood with him as he announced his resignation.

Asked whether he would run again for the seat, Brown said he didn’t “foresee that” but added that “you never know the future.”

Senate leaders said they knew of only one time a senator has been formally ousted, the 1981 expulsion of then-Sen. Gaston Gerald. He was convicted in federal court of extortion, a felony, and was unable to attend legislative meetings because he was in a Texas prison.


Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at https://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide