NEW ORLEANS – Today, before heading into Criminal District Court to personally try a Second Degree Murder case in front of a jury, District Attorney Jason Williams provided remarks regarding his federal trial acquittal.
District Attorney Jason Williams said, “I am thankful to God for girding me and seeing me and my family through this time. Of course, I am glad to be vindicated and found not guilty, as expected. However, today is in no way a day of celebration. As Judge Africk so eloquently said to the jury in my case, ‘There are no winners and losers in the criminal legal system. There are simply resolutions.’ I have now personally felt the pain, fear, isolation, and disorientation of an abuse of power and prosecutorial discretion. It was an incredibly sobering experience to witness, as I did, the power of an overreaching prosecutor.
“My friend and law partner, Nicole Burdett Waguespack, was convicted of crimes she did not commit. She acted with integrity and refused to lie or embellish the truth, and she has paid a dear cost for that integrity. I’m confident that she too will be vindicated, but until that happens, this ordeal is not over.
“What I’ve learned from this experience is that what happened to me can happen to anyone – no matter your politics. It has thus made the gravity and responsibility of my office even more extraordinary and awe-inspiring in my mind. And so while the brilliant legal team of Lisa Wayne, Billy Gibbons, Avery Pardee, and Mike Magner continues to fight for Nicole’s innocence, I’m excited to personally get back into Criminal Court to keep fighting for the victims and survivors of the violent crime that is plaguing this city.
“My role and my goal as District Attorney is to ensure that justice is served for all people in New Orleans.”
Over the past month, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) has been hard at work securing justice for victims and survivors. The office secured over 60 convictions via guilty plea for a number of violent crimes, including armed robbery, burglary, domestic abuse, illegal possession of weapons, manslaughter, and theft. Additionally, over the past two weeks alone, OPDA took 5 violent felony cases to trial and secured convictions in 4 of them; charges included felony burglary, aggravated battery, and sexual abuse of a minor. The office also secured grand jury indictments in two second degree murder cases.
This work builds on the success of DA Williams and OPDA prosecutors to secure convictions via jury trial since the resumption of jury trials in March. When cases come to OPDA with sufficient evidence, the District Attorney’s Office has vigorously fought for victims of violent crimes. Guilty jury trial verdicts secured since March include: