BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The lawyer for the governor's former health secretary, who is accused of perjury, said his client is innocent, but the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General is hoping the case will have a big impact on future legislation.
Bruce Greenstein, the former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is charged with nine counts of perjury. An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury handed down the indictment. It was the latest twist into an ongoing controversy surrounding the leader appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
It all started in 2011 when DHH, under Greenstein's leadership, awarded a $200 million contract to his former employer. Greenstein was later accused of influencing the bidding process, which led to the cancellation of the contract and Greenstein's resignation two years later. The grand jury said there is evidence showing he lied about his involvement.
"In that case, Mr. Greenstein talked about his contacts, minimized them," Asst. Attorney General David Caldwell said. "Nobody knew that the very few contacts that he claimed to have, in fact, there were thousands of contacts between himself and another employee of CSNI during a very important part of the process when he wasn't supposed to talk to them."
"I've been working on this case for two years and I know that Bruce is innocent," John McLindon, Greenstein's attorney, said. "I know he did not commit perjury. Now, we're just going to have to show it to a jury."
According to McLindon, Greenstein is devastated by the indictment and that he will plead not guilty. The attorney general's office said this ongoing case is an opportunity to prevent similar cases in the future.
"We're going to take a look at this with the legislature. We can go back for the public. In the future, how are we going to evaluate these contracts? How are we going to be able to keep this thing from happening in the first place?" Caldwell asked.
Both sides are anticipating a long court battle ahead.
"I think that there's a lot of other things going on that will probably come out at the trial. This isn't even close to corruption at all, not even close," McLindon added.
The governor's executive counsel sent an email response about the matter.
"We have zero-tolerance for any wrongdoing, which is why we immediately acted to terminate the contract when we learned from the AG that improper behavior might have occurred, and it is why we asked the inspector general to conduct an independent investigation," Thomas Enright Jr. wrote.
Greenstein's arraignment hearing on the charges is expected to happen within the next 30 days.