Apology by assistant DA leads to dismissal of contempt ruling



Posted on January 23, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 6:20 PM

Mike Perlstein / Eyewitness News
Email: mperlstein@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mperlstein

NEW ORLEANS - One of the most closely watched contempt of court cases to hit New Orleans Criminal Court was dispatched within seconds Thursday when an assistant district attorney apologized for violating a judge’s gag order.

For a week, the threat of serving time in parish prison had been hanging over the head of high-profile New Orleans prosecutor Chris Bowman. Last Thursday, Judge Frank Marullo found Bowman in contempt of court for violating a gag order by talking about a pending murder case.

Bowman, spokesman for the DA’s office, had been ordered by Marullo to serve 24 hours in parish prison. But Bowman never made it to the lockup, instead being escorted by deputies to the DA's office to serve community service.

That didn't sit well with Marullo, so he subpoenaed Sheriff Marlon Gusman to clarify the matter. With a promise from Gusman that the judge's orders would be followed, Bowman was subpoenaed to appear before Marullo Thursday.

“If I sentence a guy to do 24 hours, I expect a guy to do 24 hours,” Marullo told the sheriff at last week’s hearing. “He wasn’t even under supervision. He went back to his office.”

Flanked by two private attorneys and followed by reporters Thursday afternoon, Bowman walked into court and promptly apologized to the judge.

“I had forgotten about the gag order,” Bowman said, reading from notes. “I apologize…I did not intend to disobey the orders of this court.”

Marullo accepted the apology and quickly dismissed the contempt ruling.