NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The new district attorney in New Orleans, Jason Williams, said he was unaware that a star performer at his inauguration ceremony had criminal cases pending.
Online court records show three pending cases involving trombonist and singer Glen David Andrews, who performed at Monday's ceremony. Charges include domestic abuse and child endangerment, armed robbery, and drug possession.
“The District Attorney was not aware of any open cases against Mr. Andrews prior to media inquiries today," said a statement late Monday from the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office.
The office did not immediately respond to a question as to whether Williams believes having a performer with pending criminal charges perform at the ceremony would pose a conflict of interest.
The statement acknowledged that a former legal associate of Williams represents Andrews but stressed that Williams has not represented Andrews.
“The cases involving Mr. Andrews will be handled by the office in the appropriate manner, according to the law and office policies," the statement said.
Andrews has past convictions including a guilty plea in an earlier domestic abuse case. His lawyer, Robert Hjortsberg, confirmed that Andrews has pleaded not guilty in the pending cases but declined to comment further. Hjortsberg left Williams' law firm last year.
Williams won an election in December to succeed the retiring Leon Cannizzaro. He ran on a reform platform and in his Monday speech pledged to move prosecutors in his office away from seeking jail time for defendants whose crimes arise from drug addiction or mental illness.
He also stressed he would focus on violent crimes and prosecution of domestic violence cases.
“As a friend, Mr. Williams has been a constant supporter and fan of Mr. Andrews’ immense musical talent," the statement from the District Attorney's Office said. “In addition, Mr. Williams has encouraged and supported Mr. Andrews’ efforts to overcome addiction.”