Gusman comments on federal probe into construction of temporary jails

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 6:21 PM

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

NEW ORLEANS – An Alabama company known as the DRC Group recently completed the temporary jails at Orleans Parish Prison. Right after subpoenas were issued, Sheriff Marlin Gusman transferred Deputy John Sens from his job as director of purchasing.

“Considering the circumstances, and the subpoena that was issued, I didn’t think he could be effective in that department,” said Gusman. “I moved him to another area where he wasn’t going to be handling those matters that are being investigated. It was that simple.”

But, Gusman has retained Sens in another capacity, assigned to security as a post-certified deputy.

While confirming the federal investigation and the receipt of a grand jury subpoena by his office, Sheriff Gusman emphasized that he does not believe anybody in his department broke any law.

“Everything that I’ve seen thus far in terms of that construction, we handled in accordance with the law and in strict compliance with the law,” he said. “We’re fully cooperating with the investigation. I can’t comment beyond that.”

WWL-TV legal analyst Donald “Chick” Foret said the probe appears to be in its early stages.

“Just because a federal grand jury has asked for records through a grand jury subpoena, does not necessarily mean that there’s going to be an indictment,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s been criminal activity. The grand jury is doing its investigation, is doing its work, is doing exactly what a grand jury does.”

Calls by Eyewitness News to the DRC Group were not returned as of 5 pm Wednesday.

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