UPDATED: Caddo ADAs react to firing over weapons flap
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A major shake-up in the Caddo Parish District Attorney's office: Several sources tell KSLA News 12 that two prosecutors involved in the acquisition of automatic weapons have been asked to resign.
Now-former ADAs Lea Hall and Hugo Holland confirm to KSLA News 12 that they were asked to resign by Caddo District Attorney, Charles Scott Tuesday afternoon. Hall says that he was made a political scapegoat. "[DA] Scott has crawfished from this situation since day one," says Hall. "He has always said to the press that he never knew they were automatic weapons. He absolutely did. They were disclosed fully to him at the time the application was being sent up the chain for his approval."
Hall says he did comply with the DA's request and has submitted his resignation.
Hugo Holland, head of the sex crime division in the office of the Caddo Parish District Attorney, also confirms he was asked to resign on Tuesday, saying "I'm very unhappy with the fact that I'm no longer serving the people of Caddo Parish but I have respect for the office of the District Attorney."
Holland, who has been with the DA's office for 21 years, prosecuted hundreds of cases, many of them involving sex crimes, and internet crimes against children.
The prosecutors say they were called in to a meeting with Scott separately Tuesday afternoon where he asked for their resignations.
Hall says he was surprised by the request, but says he'll look for other employment and will land on his feet.
Holland says he wants to continue prosecuting, possibly in another parish. He says he does not want to go into private practice because he went to law school to become a prosecutor.
The resignations come on the heels of an investigation into the acquisition of eight automatic weapons, an ordeal that did not sit well with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office.
Recently, Louisiana's Inspector General's Office cleared the DA's office of violations, but inspectors did criticize the handling of the request. The request was handled by prosecutors Lea Hall and Hugo Holland.
In a letter by the Inspector General's Office, made public by DA Scott, the inspector indicates that Hall and Holland made false statements regarding their reasons for wanting the automatic weapons. Hall maintains that the DA's investigators need them for protection while carrying out investigations.
"I believe that they face harm. And I've always been here for them. That is not something mirrored by the leadership here," said Hall.
On Friday when Scott released the Inspector's letter said he did sign the request forms, but did not realize that the weapons being requested were fully automatic.
The weapons have been moved to the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office. Scott says he paid for the transfer from his personal funds.
KSLA News 12 contacted DA Scott after learning of the resignations. Scott would neither confirm nor deny that the two work there.
UPDATED Wednesday, August 1: While District Attorney Charles Scott has not made a statement regarding the resignations of Holland and Hall, he did announce on Wednesday that two assistant district attorneys have been assigned new duties.
According to the brief statement released late Wednesday afternoon, ADA Ben Langford, current section chief in the drug division (Section 5), will be heading the sex crime screening division, and ADA Karelia Stewart will become section chief in the drug division.
Langford and Stewart will begin their new assignments effective immediately.
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