Remember the whole “Spygate” scandal that broke out before last year’s governor’s primary in October? Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand claimed that David Vitter hired a private investigator to spy on him illegally.
Normand was meeting with John Cummings, who was a John Bel Edwards supporter, in a coffee shop in Metairie. Normand and his buddies made a big deal about chasing the “spy” down and catching him. Normand charged the “spy”, Robert Frenzel, with criminal mischief. He also considered charging Frenzel with violating the state’s wiretapping law and turned over the information to the FBI.
Jefferson Parish prosecutors have made their decision on whether or not prosecute Frenzel and they decided not to.
From The Advocate:
Prosecutors have refused criminal charges against a private investigator hired by U.S. Sen. David Vitter who was caught spying last fall on Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and several of his associates — a sensational arrest that caused a stir on the eve of Louisiana’s gubernatorial primary.
The investigator, Robert J. Frenzel, was booked in October on one count of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, following a bizarre run-in at the Royal Blend coffeehouse on Metairie Road in which he surreptitiously recorded the sheriff’s regular coffee klatsch and, after a testy confrontation, fled from the business and ran through several private properties.
Vitter’s campaign acknowledged hiring Frenzel’s firm, J.W. Bearden & Associates, of Texas, to conduct opposition research, but it said the private eye had been sent to the coffeehouse to monitor John Cummings, a prominent lawyer and real estate investor who supported Gov. John Bel Edwards in last year’s lively campaign. Cummings also was present at the coffee confab.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office refused the case against Frenzel “on grounds of insufficient evidence,” said Paul Purpura, a spokesman for District Attorney Paul Connick.
The decision had been expected among local law enforcement officials, even though Normand said publicly last fall that he was considering booking Frenzel on an additional count of violating the state’s wiretapping law.
Of course this decision wasn’t a surprise. The whole purpose of the arrest was to embarrass and humiliate David Vitter before the runoff. The guy who was using dirty tricks here was Newell Normand. Normand himself was not surprised by the decision of the Jefferson Parish DA to not prosecute.
Newell Normand thinks he’s the King of Jefferson Parish. He cannot have anyone who dares question him. That’s why he went after Frenzel and David Vitter. It was good to see justice prevail in Jefferson Parish.
So the voters of Louisiana were bombarded by the Edwards campaign and their allies the false and misleading allegations that David Vitter was spying on political opponents. Much of that came from Newell Normand who himself abused his own power to intimidate a political opponent himself, at least according from the decision of the prosecutor.
If I was Robert Frenzel, I would consider suing Normand for abusing his civil rights. This as little more than an attempt to intimidate an political opponent.
Now that’s something worth investigating further.