Former DA investigator indicted

Published 8:32 am Friday, December 18, 2015

A Washington Parish grand jury indicted Michael Cotton, 66, a former investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, Thursday on charges that he threatened a female drug offender to obtain sex, assisted her in possessing a narcotic called Suboxone, and traded the influence of his position for sex with another woman.

According to information released by District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s office, Cotton, of Bogalusa, was charged with extortion, abuse of office, principal to possession of a Schedule III narcotic, and public bribery for crimes that took place from about March 2013 through about July 10, 2015. The charges were announced jointly Thursday by the District Attorney’s Office for the 22nd Judicial District (Washington and St. Tammany parishes) and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

“No one is above the law,” Montgomery said. “Public employees, particularly those charged with enforcing the law, have a higher obligation to abide by the law. It greatly disturbs me that a member of the criminal justice system would deal drugs and prey on the vulnerable. This violates the public trust, and such individuals will be vigorously prosecuted.”

Montgomery said the FBI contacted him in the spring about its investigation into Cotton, who had been hired by the previous administration as a part-time investigator in May 2007. Cotton went on unpaid leave in April and was fired in August. The District Attorney’s Office recused itself from prosecuting the case and contacted the Attorney General’s Office.

Cotton’s arrest on Friday, Dec. 11, resulted from a joint investigation that involved the FBI-New Orleans Division, Louisiana State Inspector General, Louisiana Attorney General’s Public Corruption Unit, Louisiana State Police and the District Attorney’s Office.