BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The attorney for Former Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says Edmonson has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. However, federal prosecutors Thursday refused to comment on the attorney’s claim.
The former head of state police was accused of assigning troopers to shuttle family members on personal trips, getting free meals that he should have paid for, and letting friends and family members stay in hotel rooms meant for troopers during Mardi Gras.
Edmonson retired after the allegations were raised in a state audit released in 2017.
His attorney, Grey Sexton, said Thursday the Louisiana Board of Ethics has investigated matters raised in the scathing state audit and closed the file without recommending any prosecution.“All of the investigatory matters have been concluded,” Sexton said.
Sexton says he has conferred with all agencies involved, including the U.S. Attorney’s office, and no agency has an active investigation against Edmonson.
U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin, through a spokesperson, declined to comment Thursday citing a vague and inconsistent policy that the office frequently uses to avoid answering questions from the media.
“In response to your earlier question regarding Mike Edmonson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office cannot confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation/matter,” said U.S. Attorney Public Information Officer Holly Sheets.
However, the same office confirmed in 2017 it was indeed investigating the Edmonson matter.
Then acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson confirmed that his office “has been and will continue coordinating with State Police” on this matter, according to a 2017 report in The Advocate newspaper.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office does have a history of announcing when someone has been cleared of a federal investigation so it is unclear why it will not comment on the Edmonson case.
For example, in 2017, the office held a news conference to announce it had cleared two Baton Rouge police officers of any wrongdoing in the Alton Sterling shooting case.
As for the Edmonson investigation, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office in 2017 found the former head of state police may have broken state law on several occasions during his time as the state’s top law enforcement officer.
The audit detailed alleged abuse of power by Col. Mike Edmonson during his more than nine years as state police superintendent. The claims ranged from using state troopers to shuttle his family members to casinos to giving his family and friends hotel rooms meant for troopers during Mardi Gras to having inmates walk the family dog.
Those allegations included:
- Edmonson allegedly got free meals from the state police cafeteria that auditors believe he should have paid for.
- Edmonson allegedly let family members bring their personal vehicles to the state police fleet operations center for free minor repairs, car washes, and detailing. One trooper said his secretary kept notes of when these incidents allegedly happened.
- Edmonson allegedly got his uniforms dry-cleaned at the Governor’s Mansion while also being given an allowance from state police for the same purpose.
- During Mardi Gras, Edmonson allegedly let friends and family stay for free in hotel rooms in New Orleans meant for state troopers, including at the five-star Windsor Court Hotel.
- Assigning troopers to drive his wife and other family members on personal trips including visits to casinos.
Edmonson did not immediately reply to a text message seeking comment Thursday.