Some of the lawsuits against the man who was removed as king of Zulu next Mardi Gras, will move forward in court, but the main one alleging assault and battery, will not.
Naaman Stewart, who was removed from his Zulu King-Elect title for 2019, was back in Civil District Court Friday for rulings on three lawsuits against him.
The Zulu organization and Stewart, who is also the club's outgoing president, are being sued by a former club employee. She says one night, three years ago in the club's North Broad Street headquarters, Stewart followed her into a bathroom, then told her she could not leave unless she showed him her breasts and had sex with him.
On the first part of the lawsuit alleging assault and battery, Judge Christopher Bruno dismissed it, because more than a year had gone, by passing the statute of limitations.
"Any allegations relating to any touching, or based upon any physical contact, was dismissed today because it was not timely filed," explained WWL-TV News Legal Analyst Chick Foret.
He said that could only move forward on appeal.
On the second part of the alleged victim's lawsuit, accusing Stewart of defamation, the judge ruled that could go forward.
"The alleged defamatory comments were made after she filed her law suit according to the pleading that I read today," said Foret.And finally, on the third part about allegations there were violations of her employment rights, the judge gave the woman 15 days to rewrite her lawsuit, with more specific information, before he can rule if it will move forward.
"He told the plaintiff, go back, amend your petition, give me firmer dates, give me more clarification on exactly when you allege these incidences took place."
So both sides will have to be back in civil court.
"So it really was a mixed bag for everybody. Today the defendant won on one set of issues. The plaintiff won on another set of issues, and there's one set of issues still to be resolved," said Foret.
On the criminal side:
The alleged victim went to the NOPD sex crimes division and filed a report. She also met with the DA's office urging criminal charges against Stewart.
The DA's office says NOPD asked if there was a criminal case against Stewart, but the DA says the statute of limitations passed before accusations were made. The office can revisit the case if more evidence comes out.
Statement from the woman's attorney, Lena Hinton,:
Ms. (X) did go the police and meet with a sex crimes detective with NOPD. She was given an item number for that report. She also met with the district attorney urging him to file charges against Naaman Stewart. Nothing has been filed criminally thus far and she has not heard from the DA or NOPD regarding their intentions moving forward.
Statement from the Orleans DA's office, spokesman Ken Daley:
"New Orleans police have not arrested Mr. Stewart, but have asked our office to consult as to whether a criminal case can or should be instituted against him. It appears that the prescribed period under which such allegations could be prosecuted passed before authorities were notified of the accusations. We stand ready to revisit that opinion in the event that additional evidence or information is provided to us."
While Zulu officials have not addressed the matter, the decision to remove Stewart as king-elect would seem to clear the way for George V. Rainey to reign as King Zulu 2019 after he lost to Stewart by six votes.
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