State Sen. Troy Brown announces resignation

BATON ROUGE, La.-- Facing the strong possibility his colleagues would vote to expel him from the Senate, La. Sen. Troy Brown, D-Napoleonville, announced Thursday he will resign his seat.

Brown has pleaded no contest in two separate domestic violence cases in recent months, leading two senators, Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, and Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, to make a motion to expel him during the special legislative session that convened Monday.

“I think my actions warranted a punishment. I think my punishment should be commensurate with what occurred,” Brown said adding the expulsion proceedings were the equivalent of 'an execution.'

Wednesday, Brown had said, "It's pretty obvious," that the members of the Senate would vote to expel him after the first meeting of the Senate's Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion. But he vowed to fight the efforts to get him out of the senate, saying he felt he was being denied due process.

In Thursday's press conference, Brown said he was told months ago that the expulsion proceedings were imminent.

"I look at the reality that we've been dealing with this matter for 9-to-10 months. No one in my district has contacted me directly as well as electronically in no manner and asked me to resign my seat. There has been no recall effort brought forth against me in my district," Brown said Wednesday before announcing 24 hours later he would step down.

The controversy surrounding Brown began when he was arrested the weekend of the Bayou Classic football game at a New Orleans hotel in 2015, as first reported by WWL-TV.

He later pleaded no contest to battery for that incident for allegedly punching his girlfriend of 10 years in the face.

At the time, Brown blamed his bad behavior on frequent black outs he experienced when drinking alcohol that he said were brought on by brain damage sustained in a past car accident.

Last year, Brown was arrested again, this time, for biting his wife on the arm at their Geismar home. Brown pled no contest to domestic battery in that case.

A no contest plea is the same thing as a guilty plea, but it cannot be used against the defendant in a civil case.

Brown apologized to his constituents for his behavior at the time, announcing he had started taking anger management classes. 

“I think I’ve apologized a thousand times," Brown said about his wife and girlfriend. "I’ll continue to apologize a thousand times.”

But the controversy surrounding Brown hasn't been limited to his history of domestic abuse. The large home Brown shares with his wife in Geismar, where he was arrested for biting her, is outside Senate District 2, as first reported in another WWL-TV investigative report.

The next senate disciplinary hearing is scheduled for Monday, when the committee could decide whether to recommend expulsion to the full senate, a suspension or no punishment at all.

Brown's attorney attempted to block the disciplinary process Wednesday, filing a motion for a temporary restraining order in state court in Baton Rouge. La. District Judge William Morvant denied the TRO request, scheduling a hearing on Craft's motion for a permanent injunction for next Friday, days after the senate committee is expected to make a decision.

Only one other time in Louisiana history has a Louisiana senator been expelled. Gaston Gerald was removed in 1981 after he was convicted of attempted extortion and sent to federal prison in Texas.

Craft said Thursday the Senate needs more specific expulsion standards beyond removal for conduct unbecoming a Senator. The rules allow for removal for a felony conviction, but do not define other conduct that is ground for expulsion.

"My client is adamant that change needs to come," Craft said.

Brown told reporters he would return to life as a private citizen continuing to 'help people.' Brown runs a home-health agency that has been investigated numerous times by the La. Department of Health and Hospitals, as detailed in another investigative report.

(© 2017 WWL)


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