NEW ORLEANS -- Casey Warren thought he was almost home free last month when a jury found him not guilty on cocaine and public intimidation charges.
All that remained against him was a felon in possession of a gun charge, and any retrial would require testimony from the same New Orleans police detective who already was under investigation for perjury when he was tripped up in Warren’s trial.
The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office had other ideas.
The office raised the stakes by dropping the gun charge against Warren, then immediately re-indicted him on the same charge. As part of the re-indictment, prosecutors ordered Warren arrested on a bond of $250,000, more than 10 times higher than his previous bond of $17,000.
Instead of defending himself while out on bond, Warren, 37, is now awaiting trial behind bars at Orleans Parish Prison. His attorney, Frank DeSalvo, believes prosecutors are motivated by something other than justice.
“Poor losers,” DeSalvo said. “What the district attorney has to learn is that he has to live with a verdict. You can’t say, ‘I’ll get you somewhere else.’ His bond is higher now than it was before, and he showed up (for court) every time.”
In another bizarre twist in the case, Casey Warren’s older brother, Sean Patrick Warren, also is charged in the new indictment. He is accused of destroying evidence and jury tampering.
Prosecutors have not filed the basis for their allegations, but the jury tampering charge stems from Sean Warren’s attendance at his brother’s trial.
DeSalvo said a document originally submitted by prosecutors – but now redacted in the case file – refers to accusations that “Sean Warren approached a juror and offered him money in exchange for a not guilty verdict.”
DeSalvo said the charge is bogus, and he plans on refuting it by calling an unconventional witness: Criminal Court Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson, the judge who presided over Casey Warren’s trial.
“She will now be the star witness in the defense of the case against Sean Warren,” DeSalvo wrote in a motion to recuse Landrum-Johnson from hearing the matter.
Sean Warren is not in custody, but his family says he is preparing to turn himself in. And when he does, the district attorney's office has set his bond at $800,000.
“Sounds vindictive, that’s what I think,” DeSalvo said. “It’s what I said before, poor loser. Because they think it’s about winning and losing, when it’s really about justice or injustice.”
Meanwhile, the New Orleans police officer who was the lead detective in the drug bust against Warren remains under investigation by the FBI, stemming from a failed 2011 narcotics case.
In that case, Detective Raymond Veit, a 24-year police veteran, testified that his multi-agency task force never went to the French Quarter apartment of drug defendant Stefen Daigle, even though surveillance video contradicted his account. The video shows officers entering Daigle’s apartment and leaving a short time later.
After the video surfaced, prosecutors dropped Daigle’s charges.
Veit also remains suspended from the NOPD after being arrested in Harahan in an unrelated domestic abuse case.
Despite his legal difficulties, Veit was the key witness at last month’s trial of Casey Warren. And similar to the 2011 case, Veit was tripped up on the witness stand by hard evidence.
Veit testified that the task force arrested Warren at 1:45 p.m., a time he also wrote in his police report. But in a hand-written preliminary report known as a “face sheet,” Veit wrote 11:45 a.m. The earlier time is supported by a toll tag history showing Warren’s truck being driven across the Crescent City Connection at 12:46 p.m. to be searched at the Troop B office of the State Police.
The FBI declined to comment on the status of the perjury investigation against Veit, which was referred to the federal agency by the district attorney’s office.