‘Mr. Redmond’ revealed in Pope case

by Leslie Turk

Baton Rouge-based political consultant Jason Redmond is the man whose name was used on invoices for legal services paid for by the city marshal’s office last year to unseal Sheriff Mark Garber’s divorce records.

Political consultant Jason Redmond, left, referred to in legal invoices to the marshal's office as "Mr. Redmond," and ADA Danny Landry outside of the Lafayette Parish Courthouse after Redmond's grand jury testimony Wednesday
Photo by Robin May

[UPDATE: Grand jury returns released late Wednesday afternoon included two true bills and one no true bill (or refusal to indict) in unrelated cases, but there was no mention of Marshal Pope case. Our logical conclusion is that the grand jury has continued its investigation into Pope to next month.)

The mysterious “Mr. Redmond,” the man Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope and his former attorney, Chuck Middleton, have claimed no knowledge of, was called in to testify before a Lafayette Parish grand jury in an ongoing grand jury investigation targeting the city marshal. In August the city marshal was indicted by the same grand jury on five felony charges, three counts of misuse of public funds for urging voters to elect a candidate for sheriff last year and two for perjury.

All of Pope’s legal troubles, both civil and criminal, are related to his year-long public records battle with The Independent. (Read more about the high cost of his legal defense here.)

At the center of today’s proceedings appears to be the motion Pope and Middleton drafted in November to have Sheriff Mark Garber’s prior divorce record unsealed at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse. Middleton then invoiced the marshal’s office for the "Mr. Redmond" motion, and Pope paid the bill. Pope and Middleton, The Independent has since learned from the court record, believed the sealed divorce file contained an incriminating and embarrassing video of Garber.

It did not.

To this day, both Pope and Middleton have refused to turn the motion over to The Independent despite a public records request for it. Both have said they have no knowledge of the motion and do not possess it.

Middleton, in fact, has since claimed he billed the marshal in error for the “Mr. Redmond” motion, said he could not find any evidence of the motion in his law office files or computer, and refunded the marshal’s office for a portion of the paid legal invoice for the Redmond motion.

It turns out that Mr. Redmond is Jason Redmond, who owns Jason Redmond Strategies, a political consulting firm. He also heads Watchdog PAC, which was formed in 2015 and supported the candidacies of Joel Robideaux for mayor-president, Pat Lewis for the Lafayette city-parish council and Scott Police Chief Chad Leger for Lafayette Parish sheriff. Redmond would not comment on his testimony.

Citing the confidentiality of the grand jury proceedings, Redmond would only say that he is cooperating with District Attorney Keith Stutes’ office and the grand jury.

“I was not involved in the filing of the motion to unseal Sheriff Garber’s divorce record last year,” Redmond told The IND.

Leger's campaign manager, Joe Castille, was also back before the grand jury Wednesday. He, too, declined to comment for confidentiality reasons.