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A strange and provocative taxicab interaction has landed a Louisiana lawyer with a misdemeanor battery conviction. And the cabbie who captured the incident on cell phone video is now suing the police.
Jennifer Gaubert, 33, is a New Orleans attorney and ex-host of a legal call-in radio show called "Law Out Loud." She's alleged to have filed false accusations against cab driver Hervey Farrell, claiming that he was trying to blackmail her with the video. Gaubert claimed that Farrell had recorded her sexually propositioning him and threatened to release the video unless she paid up, reports The Times-Picayune.
But prosecutors didn't buy it, and have charged Gaubert with a felony for allegedly filing false statements. What exactly was going on between Gaubert and her cabbie?
On April 6, 2012, Farrell was transporting Gaubert in his taxi when the strange incident occurred. Although the Times-Picayune is astute to note that we have no clue what happened prior to the start of the video, a judge found Gaubert guilty of misdemeanor battery.
You can see the video here (though it's not safe for work):
A simple battery in Louisiana is the intentional use of force or violence without consent of the victim, much like the definition of civil battery, and is punishable by up to six months in jail. The judge was likely convinced that Gaubert was guilty of battery when he viewed her repeated attempts to grab at Farrell without his consent.
But that isn't even half of the story.
Farrell filed a police report against his drunken and belligerent passenger on the day of their taxi ride -- but a year, later he was arrested for alleged blackmail.
According to the Times-Picayune, on April 5, 2013 -- more than a year after the incident caught on video -- Gaubert called police and reported that Farrell was blackmailing her after he filmed her without permission. She claimed he'd asked for $1,000 in order to make the video "disappear."
Based on this report, New Orleans police secured a warrant for Farrell's arrest on suspicion of extortion. Farrell was arrested in August, with bond set at $21,000.
The problem: Farrell claims he never tried to blackmail Gaubert -- which may explain why Gaubert is now facing felony charges for filing a false report. No charges were ever filed against Farrell.
Because of Gaubert's allegedly false report, Farrell is now suing the New Orleans Police Department for failing to check out Gaubert's story before arresting him. According to the Times-Picayune, his suit claims that the officers didn't even watch the video before obtaining an arrest warrant.
Is Gaubert a lusty, lying lawyer? A Louisiana judge is set to determine at least the lying part when Gaubert's trial on the false statements charge begins next month.