District Attorney Loses 2nd Appeal Over Firing White Workers

AP, September 20, 2007

A federal appeals court has rejected a second appeal from the New Orleans district attorney over a ruling that said he violated the civil rights of dozens of white employees when he fired them and replaced them with black workers after taking office in 2003.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned aside a request by Orleans Parish prosecutor Eddie Jordan to have the full court review the case.

Earlier, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld the verdict against Jordan, that, with interest, means Jordan’s office owes the ex-workers and their attorneys about $3.5 million.

In 2005, a jury rejected Jordan’s contention that he filled key positions with political supporters and did not discriminate based on race when he took over from longtime District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. in 2003.

In his appeal, Jordan had argued that jurors did not have enough evidence to reach that conclusion.

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Because of the latest ruling, Donelon says a stay on collecting the verdict will expire Sept. 26.

Donelon said that he is prepared to seize assets of the district attorney’s office, including its payroll account. Donelon said the office does not have insurance to pay the verdict. Jordan is not personally responsible for payment.

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