About a week before he was indicted on perjury and falsifying public records charges, St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta filed suit against the state attorney general, several assistant attorneys general, and the office in a complaint related to a 2012 matter.
Peralta was indicted May 6 in Baton Rouge on three counts of perjury and three counts of falsifying public records. He is accused of withdrawing cash from his campaign bank account using an ATM card at various casinos and using the cash to gamble.
He allegedly filed false campaign finance reports with the Louisiana Board of Ethics and failed to report the ATM withdrawals. Perjury charges against Peralta relate to testimony he provided regarding campaign expenditures between 2012 and 2014.
Peralta filed his complaint against James D. “Buddy” Caldwell; Assistant Attorneys General David Caldwell, Matthew B. Derbes, David Weilbaecher and Molly Lancaster, all of Baton Rouge; and the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General, in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on April 28.
His complaint states that the defendants failed to correct or report perjury in an alleged cover-up of crimes committed by a former parish president. Peralta alleges that the attorney general’s office used perjured testimony fabricated by his ex-wife to discredit both his reputation and credibility as a witness.
According to the court filing, following his election in November 2011, the plaintiff began an inquiry into the practices of former parish president Craig Taffaro, alleging that the latter misappropriated public resources for his own gain.
The suit states that the attorney general’s office sought to cover up evidence of misconduct based on the defendants’ connections to Gov. Bobby Jindal; and that the attorney general brought criminal charges against Peralta in a continuation of the cover-up.
Citing willful disregard of fabricated evidence and complicity in concealing their actions, Peralta seeks injunctive relief to prevent bad-faith prosecution, together with damages, penalties, attorney’s fees, expenses and costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Martin Regan of Regan & Sandhu in New Orleans.
U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-01385-SSV-MBN