[StBernard] Robert Klees' interim appointment as District Court judge in St. Bernard extended

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Nov 10 20:55:58 EST 2009

Robert Klees' interim appointment as District Court judge in St. Bernard
By Chris Kirkham, The Times-Picayune
November 10, 2009, 6:34PM
The Louisiana Supreme Court has appointed retired state Appeals Court Judge
Robert Klees to continue serving in place of disgraced state District Judge
Wayne Cresap, who pleaded guilty to a judicial bribery scheme last month in
federal court and officially resigned at the end of October.

Klees has handled Cresap's caseload in the 34th Judicial District Court in
St. Bernard Parish since May, when Cresap filed for interim disqualification
after he was arrested by the FBI in late April. Cresap pleaded guilty Oct. 1
to taking more than $70,000 in bribes over five years in exchange for
allowing inmates to get out of jail without paying any bond money.

Cresap officially resigned from the post Oct. 30, prompting the Supreme
Court to extend Klees' interim appointment until a special election can be
held. Klees' appointment at the court in Chalmette is effective through May
30, or until the vacancy is filled.

A special election will be held in spring 2010 to fill Cresap's position,
according to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office. Qualifying for a
March 27 primary election will begin Feb. 3-5, with a possible runoff
election May 1.

Cresap, who was in the second year of a six-year term, will be sentenced in
January by U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon, alongside two St.
Bernard Parish lawyers who pleaded to the scheme: Victor J. "V.J." Dauterive
and Nunzio Salvadore "Sal" Cusimano. As part of the plea agreement, Cresap
agreed to resign his judgeship before sentencing and cooperate in any other
relevant corruption investigations.

Klees was a former chief judge for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Since he retired in 2000, Klees has served as an ad hoc judge in several
state district courts in the metropolitan area, including St. Bernard,
Orleans, Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes.

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