New Orleans and Louisiana officials have worked out a deal to pay off most a multimillion-dollar civil rights judgment against the Orleans Parish district attorney, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. New District Attorney Keva Landrum-Johnson called it an opportunity to provide much-needed stability to the office. The payments will include a $1 million advance to the district attorney’s office from the city, a $1.6 million one-time contribution by the state, and $300,000 form the district attorney’s coffers. Although less than the $3.4 million owed to the plaintiffs, the proposed amount has the endorsement of all parties.
The state portion, backed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, will require approval from one key legislative committee next month, a request that could meet some resistance. The judgment stems from former District Attorney Eddie Jordan’s firing of dozens of white support workers and investigators, replacing them with African-American applicants. A federal jury in 2005 found that Jordan, who is black, illegally used race as a factor when he fired these staff members, who previously worked for District Attorney Harry Connick. In recent weeks, the plaintiffs took steps to seize the contents of several bank accounts held by the district attorney’s office, which jeopardized its viability of the agency.