Ex-EPA Agent Keith Phillips is accused of lying under oath to conceal an extra-marital affair that led to the wrongful prosecution of Hubert Vidrine.
The EPA agent fired and indicted recently on perjury and obstruction of justice charges can keep most of his guns and enjoy a hunting trip with his son in September while awaiting trial.
Agent Keith Phillips, a Dallas EPA agent who joined New Orleans FBI agent Ekko Barnhill in a three-year investigation of then Canal Refinery manager Hubert Vidrine, reportedly lied under oath in a 2008 deposition when he denied having a sexual relationship with his joint investigator Barnhill.
Phillips’ deposition in the civil trial filed by Vidrine against the federal government led to his termination and federal indictment, which was handed down at the end of July. The former government agent pleaded not guilty Thursday morning when he appeared in federal court before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna.
Vidrine’s lawsuit charges that the extra-marital affair between Phillips and Barnhill prompted the agents to pursue a years long meritless and wrongful prosecution against Vidrine for criminal environmental charges, charges that were eventually dropped. The affair, according to Vidrine’s suit, sparked a need for Phillips to have a reason to travel regularly from Dallas to New Orleans.
Judge Hanna ruled Thursday that Phillips will not be detained while awaiting trial and told Phillips he could keep most of his firearms, except for one handgun, though protocol typically bars persons under federal indictment from possessing any firearms.
Speaking to a lawyer inside the courtroom before his arraignment began, Phillips said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be going through this. It happened 12 or 13 years ago. The hardest thing about all of it is the unknown.”
Vidrine is seeking more than $5 million in lost income, lost earning capacity, legal costs to defend prosecution, damage to he and his wife’s reputations, emotional distress, humiliation and loss of consortium.
Vidrine’s civil case went to trial before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty in June. According to the indictment, Phillips’ 20 years of employment with the EPA ended on July 26, a month after Vidrine’s civil suit was heard. Doherty has not yet ruled on the civil lawsuit.
Read more on Vidrine’s civil lawsuit against the federal government here.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.