Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott fired two longtime assistant district attorneys Tuesday – just days after a state inspector general’s report found an application used to acquire automatic weapons for Scott’s office contained false information, the men fired say.
Lea Hall said he and fellow prosecutor Hugo Holland were forced to resign about 2 p.m. Hall also said his efforts to refute the report and clear his name were stopped by Scott, who ordered Hall not continue his investigation.
The dismissal of Hall and Holland is the latest development in a continuing dispute over eight M16 rifles acquired by the district attorney’s office. The weapons, obtained from the Louisiana Federal Property Assistance Agency, were delivered Feb. 27 to the Caddo Courthouse. Shortly after, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator asked the inspector general to investigate the gun acquisition made by the district attorney’s office.
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.”
The prosecutors say they were called in to a meeting with Scott separately Tuesday afternoon where he asked for their resignations.
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, which 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.
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.
Two of Caddo Parish’s top prosecutors have left the District Attorney’s office, given a choice to quit or be fired.
District Attorney Charles Scott told KTBS that he would not discuss personnel issues. However, one of the prosecutors, 13-year office veteran Lea Hall, said that he and Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland were forced out Tuesday afternoon.
Their departures follow the Friday release of a state Inspector General’s report into the purchase of eight automatic weapons by the District Attorney’s Office. Hall believes Scott feared the political fallout from the event. He also said Scott was more knowledgeable than he has said about both the weapons purchase and the special investigations section that works closely with police in sometimes dangerous conditions.
Caddo Parish Steve Prator has been the most prominent critic of DA personnel having such heavy firepower. His complaint at not being informed about the of delivery of M16s earlier this year triggered the Inspector General’s investigation. He has since revoked sheriff’s commissions that had allowed some DA personnel to carry weapons and make arrests. The automatic weapons have been transferred to the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Hall believes Scott forced the senior prosecutors to resign “to appease the sheriff’’ because he believes he needs Prator’s support to get re-elected. Meanwhile, the sheriff is “beating (Scott) around the head, neck and shoulders every time he turns around.’’