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Louisiana judge apologizes for racial slurs in text messages

February 24, 2020 GMT

NAPOLEONVILLE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana judge has apologized for using racial slurs in angry text messages, which she now admits she sent during an argument with her lover in an extramarital affair.

District Judge Jessie LeBlanc told WAFB-TV in an interview Sunday that she admits using a slur to describe a black sheriff’s deputy and a black law clerk in text messages she sent to Assumption Parish Chief Deputy Bruce Prejean as their affair ended.

“I admit that I used that word,” LeBlanc, who is white, told the TV station. “I profusely apologize for that. I should have never said it. It was uncalled for. I was angry. I was upset. But, it’s no excuse.”

Prejean was demoted from his position as chief deputy by Sheriff Leland Falcon after admitting to the affair last year. As recently as last week, the judge was denying both the affair and having sent the text messages, according to WBRZ-TV, and she has yet to be disciplined.

District Attorney Ricky Babin and the district’s lead public defender have filed a court motion asking that LeBlanc voluntarily recuse herself from criminal matters in Assumption Parish, or be forced to do so because of the affair.

Babin also said that hundreds of her cases are now under review, and thousands of letters have been sent, to every defendant who appeared before her since she was sworn in, in 2012.

Baton Rouge NAACP President Eugene Collins said the judge should step down or be removed from the bench.

“This is about creating a fair and impartial system,” Collins said.

LeBlanc said she doesn’t believe the affair would cause any trial verdicts in her court to be overturned. She also said she has no plans to resign and instead is gearing up to seek re-election. The judge’s current term in southern Louisiana’s 23rd Judicial District expires in December. The district includes Assumption, Ascension and St. James parishes.