A public records request from News 15 to Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope elicited a response that offers a peek at some misgivings the jailed official’s legal team may have with his upcoming court battle against the city-parish government over the release of emails from his office.
Last November, Marshal Brian Pope filed a federal lawsuit against the former Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley and LCG’s legal counsel, claiming that his rights were violated under the federal Stored Communication Act when LCG released his emails during a civil lawsuit brought against him by The Independent.
However, in a retainer letter obtained by News 15 from Lafayette attorney Bret Grayson to Pope, Grayson acknowledges that his client doesn’t have a case, based on the law establishing the Stored Communication Act.
“After doing research in the federal Stored Communications Act, I’ve concluded that such an action (claiming Pope’s rights were violated under the act) is not feasible under federal law,” Grayson wrote.
The retainer letter was sent Feb. 12, when Pope hired Grayson to seek a restraining order blocking LCG from releasing emails to News 15 concerning possible retaliation by Pope against the organizers of the recall effort against him. In that restraining order, the Stored Communication Act and the pending action against Stanley and LCG are cited as a legal basis for both the restraining order and the denial of the News 15 request.
As of March 7, state prosecution for charges of perjury and malfeasance charges against Pope is still pending. Judges have previously ruled that those emails released by LCG, and the information in them that resulted in the criminal charges, are admissible in court.
When Grayson was contacted for his response to the comments in the Feb. 12 letter, rather than address the content or simply offer a “no comment,” the attorney threatened legal action against the television station.
“Any correspondence between Marshal Pope and I is privileged communication,” Grayson said. “You perhaps would also like to be involved in some litigation?”