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Judges rules in City Council's favor, mayor's office must turn over documents

Ultimately, Judge Cates ruled in the City Council’s favor.

NEW ORLEANS — The battle between Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City Council went to court Wednesday – and the City Council came out on top.

Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Sidney Cates IV denied the City’s request for an injunction blocking the subpoena issued to the mayor’s Chief of Staff Clifton Davis.

The City Council subpoenaed Davis for records relating to the canceled “smart city” internet project that was cancelled in April after accusation that the bidding process was rigged came to light.

Attorney James Garner represented the City in court today and argued that the City Council subpoena was “unreasonable” and that the confidential information the City Council requested was nothing more than political theater.

Executive Counsel for the City Council, Adam Swensek, argued that the City fulfills thousands of requests just like this one every year and that there’s nothing unreasonable about them doing one more.

Ultimately, Judge Cates ruled in the City Council’s favor.

City Council President Helena Moreno said that the City Council plans to file contempt charges against Davis and the mayor’s director of intergovernmental affairs, Arthur Walton, for failure to comply with the subpoena.

“What I encourage everyone to take from this is that where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Councilmember-at-large JP Morrell said. “These documents are all a public record they’re all going to come out eventually, but the fact that they are protesting this hard to prevent the public from getting access to documents from people that are public employees being paid for by your tax dollars, that’s not political theater. That’s people trying to hide something really bad from the public sphere.”

Mayor Cantrell’s office issued a statement after the ruling calling it “regrettable” but saying that they would work to satisfy the subpoena.

Garner said he would appeal the ruling.

“I suspect this is not over,” Judge Cates said.

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