Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Shepherd who lost his way

It seems somewhat ironic that a man named Shepherd could be lost, but the truth is that State Senator Derrick Shepherd is in full-blown meltdown now and no one, not even his closest supporters or ex-girlfriend, can save him. Shepherd, already under federal indictment for alleged money laundering, added to his woes over the weekend when he was accused by former girlfriend Thaise Ashford, 29, of having broken into her home in the middle of the morning, punched her and stolen $100 and her cell phone. When Jefferson Parish Sheriff Deputies went to Shepherd's home in answer to the complaint, they allegedly found him in the company of two women, one of whom was performing a provocative dance for the Marrero Democrat. That alone is not worthy of his being arrested, but when the deputies executed a search warrant, they found Ashford's cell phone inside his home. His arrest early Saturday morning caused heads to turn because the terms of his release on a federal bond seemed to be clearly broken. That would mean that Shepherd would have to forfeit his freedom and spend the remainder of the time behind bars leading up to his federal trial on October 6. After a day in the slammer Shepherd was released early Sunday morning under house arrest with a monitoring ankle bracelet. A hearing was hurriedly arranged on Tuesday in front of a federal magistrate and anxious lawyers, reporters and voters gathered inside the chambers to hear what fate would await Shepherd. But then the unexpected happened. Placed under oath and on the stand before U.S. Magistrate Louis Moore, Jr., Ashford recanted her story. She said she had invited Shepherd over to her home to reconcile as a couple, but that he was late and she became angry and called the Sheriff's Office to file a false complaint. Ashford asked that all charges be dropped against Shepherd and filed an afidavit on his behalf. Prosecutors and Sheriff's Deputies were caught off guard. Meanwhile, Moore ordered that Shepherd be placed in a halfway house until he could sort it all out. That's where the whole brouhaha stands as of now. Ashford may be prosecuted for filing false charges, but no one is commenting on that just yet. Shepherd may be able to maintain his freedom, but not without a major fight. And then there's the federal trial in the fall. He maintains his innocence on all of the charges and says that the latest round including alleged breaking and entering, theft and battery charges are without merit. He may just be right. Or at least halfway right.

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