Jason Williams Elected Orleans Parish District Attorney Despite Opposition from Mainstream Media and Mayor

Voters in Orleans Parish elected City Council President Jason Williams as the new district attorney for Orleans Parish. Williams defeated former judge Keva Landrum, with 58% of the vote, in a highly contested race in which both camps lodged accusations about dirty politics.

Williams is a New Orleans native but spent his high school years in Georgia . He returned to the city to play football at Tulane University, where he later earned a law degree.

Williams and Landrum made the run-off election after narrowly defeating former judge Arthur Hunter and attorney Morris Reed in the primary election on November 3rd.

Landrum’s campaign was plagued with accusations of misdeeds during her time as interim district attorney and criminal court judge. Big Easy Magazine covered the allegation against here, and that story can be found here.

However, Williams had to overcome many obstacles; chief among them is a looming federal trial for tax improprieties. Williams also overcame Landrum’s ability to secure big-name endorsements, including five city council members and Mayor Latoya Cantrell. He also prevailed despite his opponent Landrum being endorsed by the major media outlets in New Orleans, including the Advocate and NOLA.com.

In the end, it was Williams’ platform that resonated with the voters of Orleans parish. He promised to reject cases built on racial profiling, promote incarceration alternatives, and reform the cash bail system. He has also promised not to prosecute minor possession of marijuana.

One of the major issues during the campaign was the use of the habitual offender law, also known as the “multi-bill,” which allows the district attorney’s office to increase a defendant’s prison sentence by invoking prior felony convictions.

As City Council President, Williams often clashed with the out-going district attorney, Leon Cannizarro, even voting to cut the DA’s office budget. Williams has also blamed his federal indictment on Cannizzaro, calling it a politically motivated stunt.

Williams has vowed to bring change to the district attorney’s office after Cannizzaro’s tenure has been filled with prosecutorial misconduct accusations.

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