NEW ORLEANS -- The head of the Orleans Criminal Court Community Service Office is behind bars facing corruption charges. This after she was allegedly caught red-handed in a sting operation.
After being questioned inside the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office for at least three hours on Thursday afternoon, exclusive Eyewitness News video captures Cassandra Johnson being walked out of the district attorney's office and then taken in a patrol car to the Orleans Parish Prison around the corner.
"We will continue to work diligently to go after those individuals who try to thwart what we believe is an effective justice system," said Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
Johnson is the community service coordinator at Orleans Parish Criminal Court. Thursday afternoon evidence from her office was walked across the street to the district attorney's office, which with help from the NOPD and federal agencies have been looking into complaints that the 49-year-old was taking bribes to illegally alter or falsify public records.
The district attorney's office says a sting operation this week confirmed that Johnson allegedly took cash to help a criminal defendant skirt around his community service obligations.
"We were also able to obtain information and documents from the criminal district court which support the charges that have been lodged against her," said Cannizzaro.
As investigators look into these latest corruption charges, Cannizzaro said despite what is currently going on with the Orleans Parish Prison consent decree and now criminal court, the criminal justice system is still busy at work.
"I know that many people do not feel very confident about what they're seeing in the criminal justice system. We want to assure people in this community that we're working, we will not tolerate corruption, fraud or ill practices conducted by anyone," said Cannizzaro.
Robert Kazik, the judicial administrator for criminal court, says the court has cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities in their investigation and will continue to do so.
Johnson was booked into OPP late Thursday night on three criminal charges: public bribery, corrupt influencing and malfeasance in office.