Judge finds both Ascension Parish Councilman Corey Orgeron and client guilty after fight
GONZALES, La. (WAFB) - Ascension Parish Councilman Corey Orgeron and one of his former law clients, Roydall Lumar, were both found guilty of misdemeanor simple battery Wednesday, May 18.
Parish Court Judge Erin Lanoux handed both men 60-day jail sentences that were suspended and 90 days of supervised probation. They must both complete anger management classes and cannot come into contact with each other or engage in any criminal activity. They must also pay a $100 fine and court costs.
Orgeron and Lumar were each charged with simple battery following an October 2021 altercation between the two inside Orgeron’s law office located in Prairieville.
Body camera footage aired by WAFB and shown in the courtroom Wednesday showed the aftermath of that fight.
Each man was seen on camera blaming the other for starting the fight, setting up a so-called “he said-he said” situation.
Both men were preoccupied with continuing the finger-pointing in court Wednesday, allowing state prosecutors to make the winning argument. That being, it did not matter who hit first or who hit the hardest because both of them had committed battery.
During the procedurally jumbled trial, both men chose to act as their own lawyers, meaning they both had the opportunity to question each other on the stand and had to sit just feet away from each other at the same defense table.
Judge Lanoux questioned if that would be a problem for the men saying, “we can’t be nice enough to do that?”
Orgeron’s testimony largely focused on painting Lumar as a disgruntled client who had become paranoid about Orgeron’s legal services and lashed out.
Lumar became agitated at that portrayal, going so far as to object at one point on the basis that, “Um, he’s lying.”
Judge Lanoux overruled the objection, drawing chuckles from spectators in the courtroom and even from the judge herself.
Orgeron seemed to take being called a liar personally. He referenced the remark at several points during the trial.
“The thing that hurts the most is being called a liar,” he said. “I’m not a liar. I’m not an aggressor.”
Orgeron told the court that the fight left his ego more bruised than his body and made him question certain aspects of his work as an attorney.
“I haven’t figured out if I want to continue helping people,” he said.
Lumar told the court he hired Oregon for a personal injury case, after being attracted by an online advertisement that touted Oregon as the top legal representative, “when character counts.”
However, when the relationship went south on the day of the fight, Lumar testified, Orgeron had “pure hatred in his eyes.”
During sentencing, Lanoux reminded Orgeron that higher expectations had been placed upon him because he was a public figure.
The judge told Orgeron she “did have a problem with the way he acted that day.”
“Our jobs are to counsel as lawyers and stay our level heads,” she stated.
She asked Orgeron if he had been disciplined by the Louisiana State Bar Association and he said he had not.
Speaking after being sentenced, Orgeron told WAFB that he was disappointed in the judge and felt she jumped to conclusions. He even went so far as to call the judgment, “politically motivated.”
Lumar did not comment.
When explaining why both men received the exact same sentence, Judge Ladoux pointed to the lack of a clear aggressor on the body camera footage.
That footage shows an Ascension Parish Sheriff’s deputy arriving and finding Lumar waiting in the parking lot of Orgeron’s law office on Post Office Road.
The footage shows the deputy interviewing Lumar, who tells him he arrived at the law office to pick up a check from Orgeron when the two started arguing. “He got mad and he ripped the check up and told me to get out,” Lumar told the deputy.
Lumar says when he refused to leave and asked that police be called, Orgeron physically attacked him. “He was like, if you ain’t gonna get out, I’m gonna make you get out. And, that’s when he went to swinging at me and grabbing my hair,” Lumar said.
The same deputy then went inside the law office to interview Orgeron.
Orgeron told a completely different story, claiming Lumar acted first by knocking him to the ground.
“And when he came at me, I knew he was going to start kicking me, so I got up as quickly as I could and my forearm hit him in the face a couple of times,” the councilman told the deputy.
The deputy eventually offered both men the opportunity to drop the matter and move on with no one being charged. However, Lumar said he wanted to press charges against Orgeron.
At that point, unable to determine who was being truthful, the deputy charged both men with simple battery.
In trial Wednesday, Judge Ladoux praised that deputy, Corporal Andrew Shugart, for his judgment at the scene.
Leaving the courthouse Wednesday, Shugart’s only comment on the outcome of the case was that both men “had their day in court.”
The conviction is not expected to impact Orgeron’s ability to remain on the parish council.
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