Senate denies Troy Brown's request for subpoenas as expulsion proceedings move forward

Senate denies Troy Brown's request for subpoenas as expulsion proceedings move forward
Updated: Feb. 15, 2017 at 8:13 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Senate moved one step closer to expelling one of their own Wednesday.

The Senate repeatedly denied Sen. Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, access to records and documents he and his lawyer wanted to build a case against expulsion.

Members of the legislative body are seeking to expel Brown for physically abusing two women, including his wife. Brown recently pleaded no contest to domestic abuse against his wife and to a previous charge that he punched a woman in her eye following a Bayou Classic game.

"If that's the predicate for removing him from this body, then he is absolutely entitled to find out how many of you all have misdemeanors as well," Craft said.

Brown's lawyer, attorney Jill Craft, repeatedly asked for a variety of subpoenas, including the criminal histories of all state legislators. The Senate denied them time and time again, questioning their relevancy and calling them too broad.

"It is not a matter of a misdemeanor, it is a question of beating women multiple times," said Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, who sponsored the resolution to oust Brown.

A key difficulty for Brown and his lawyer is that the senators are treating this as a hearing, not a court trial. "You all have absolutely no standards, there's nothing in writing. There is nothing that says this is the minimum standard of conduct," Craft said.

"The standard is what we determine as a body is what is unbecoming of a senator," said Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans.

Brown and Craft both argued that by denying their requests for subpoenas – even just a list of witnesses that will testify against him – Brown is not being given a fair shot to defend himself.

"It is a blatant black eye to the Constitutional rights that person has," Brown said.

"I'm a wee bit concerned that we're not going to have nothing but a bunch of senators saying this is terrible, awful, and bad. Senator Brown's awful, and due process and the Constitution be damned," Craft said.

The procedure of expelling a senator is very rare. The last time it happened was back in 1981, according to the senate secretary. Sen. Gaston Gerald had been locked up for a felony.

Earlier Wednesday, a judge denied Brown's request for a temporary restraining order. Brown is seeking an injunction. That court proceeding is currently scheduled for next Thursday. That could be a little late for Brown, as the Senate is expected to meet Monday to decide whether or not to kick him out.

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