Another high-ranking member of Jeff Landry’s team resigns

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 12:33 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Another high-ranking member of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office has resigned amid an ongoing probe into wrongdoing in that office.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Derbes submitted his resignation Monday.

In doing so, Derbes levied serious allegations including that Attorney General’s Office allegedly gave preferential treatment to a “politically connected individual facing twenty counts of child pornography charges involving juveniles under the age of thirteen years old.”

RELATED: AG set to provide details on case involving public records request, human resource issues

Attorney General Jeff Landry deflected a question about the child pornography case when asked about it by a reporter during a news conference Tuesday morning. Instead, Landry asked about how the reporter, Andrea Gallo of The Advocate newspaper, obtained that information.

In his resignation letter, Derbes also claims he was recently denied a promotion because he was the one who reported allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior by Pat Magee.

Magee, the head of that agency’s criminal division, resigned last month amid the ongoing inquiries into his conduct.

RELATED: Judge rules AG Landry must turn over public records

Magee was found to have used inappropriate language in the workplace including profanity, sexual slang, and unprofessional comments about the appearance of coworkers, his January 2021 disciplinary letter said.

Derbes, who was hired by the agency prior to Landry being elected, claimed he and other employees in the office were afraid to come forward with allegations about Magee because Magee and Landry have been close friends for decades.

”Frankly, Mr. Magee’s behavior was offensive, harmful to our female staff, and was open, obvious, and pervasive in the workplace,” Derbes wrote in his resignation letter to Landry. “The fact that nothing was done previously is a product of Mr. Magee’s continued threats to employees of his close relationship with you (Landry) and the fear, particularly with Ms. Schober, or retaliation.

”Susan Schober, the employee reference in his letter, investigates human resources issues within that agency.

Landry held a news conference Tuesday to address the incidents and what he deemed to be unfair and “sensational” news coverage by some media outlets about the incidents.

Landry refused to identify Derbes by name during the news conference, citing what his staff described as expected legal action by that employee.

Landry and his team confirmed that the employee (Derbes) was the person who reported the allegations about Magee. And, they claim, since that employee held such a high-position in their office, he should have reported the allegations the “moment he encountered them.”

Instead, Landry and his staff claimed many of the allegations dated back several years and, in some cases, involved alleged victims who no longer even work for the agency.

The Landry team also claims that many of the allegations that Derbes made about Magee were later found to be false and, in some cases, based on hearsay.

Landry also alleged that Derbes was also found to have also sent text messages and made comments that were considered “sexist” in nature.

Derbes, through his attorney Jill Craft, denied the allegation that he did anything improper.

Craft says Derbes resigned because he could no longer stomach working for the agency.

“The only thing he did was stand up for what is right,” Craft said.

The AG’s Office issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

“Louisiana media have requested the Department of Justice answer allegations from a former employee whose character has been compromised by his own actions.

This former employee was the subject of a high-level, government agency investigation which determined he had impersonated a female employee, a Director for a previous Governor. Additionally, this former employee was engaged in text messages recently reviewed, which were determined to be sexist and inappropriate by the Director of Human Resources at the Department of Justice.

Despite these facts, we continue to be transparent and are providing answers.

Please see an answer below from Marty White, the Director of the Criminal Division of the Louisiana Department of Justice, regarding the case:

‘The case involving Mr. Gregory Campo Jr. was investigated and is being prosecuted by the Louisiana Department of Justice. During the course of the investigation and now prosecution, no preferential treatment was afforded to the defendant.

Early on in the case, it was brought to our attention that the defendant was in a long-term, out-of-state, residential treatment program. This along with COVID-19 slowed the process of effectuating an arrest of the defendant. Our office coordinated with the defense counsel to self-surrender his client. The client surrendered and posted a bail bond set by the judge in the amount of $80,000. The bond was consistent with similar cases of this nature in this jurisdiction.’”

Derbes was lead counsel in the ongoing child rape and pornography case involving former Livingston Parish deputy Dennis Perkins. Landry said another attorney from his office will take over that case.

Landry also announced Tuesday that former New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has been hired by his office.

Cannizzaro will serve as co-director of that agency’s criminal division. The other co-director, Marty White, is expected to retire soon, Landry said.

The two men will share the position once held by Pat Magee.

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