Months after being placed on unpaid administrative leave, a longtime office administrator for the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has resigned from her post for unspecified reasons, District Attorney Mike Harson said Tuesday.
Harson confirmed in an email that Barna Haynes resigned Aug. 28, “but gave no specific reasons for the resignation.”
Haynes’ resignation comes amid an ongoing FBI probe into the District Attorney’s Office that primarily delves into DWI cases.
The FBI searched two offices of the District Attorney’s Office on Feb. 27 and took files of DWI cases, drug cases and felony-level offenses.
The FBI returned to the Lafayette Parish Courthouse in April to search computer servers in connection with its ongoing investigation.
Haynes, who has worked with Harson for at least two decades, was placed on leave about two weeks after the initial search.
There have been no additional searches since then, Harson said.
Harson said he has never been advised he is a target or subject of the investigation.
The district attorney also said he did not know whether Haynes’ resignation was tied to the federal investigation.
The FBI, following its policies, has declined to comment publicly on the investigation and its status.
The FBI also searched the home of private investigator Robert Williamson on the same night agents searched the District Attorney’s Office.
Williamson has declined to comment on the case.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Williamson maintained that position.
“At this point, on advice of my attorney, I cannot comment,” said Williamson, who also declined to identify his attorney.
While no one has publicly stated the reasons for the investigation, at least 60 DWI cases have been found that involved plea deals that allowed defendants to speed up the judicial process by allowing offenders to complete their probation requirements, such as community service, substance abuse and driver improvement courses, before pleading in court.
There also are cases where questionable community service documents were submitted in connection with some of the pleas.
Former Assistant District Attorney Keith Stutes, who retired last week, also conducted an investigation into the issue.
Harson has said he forwarded the findings from Stutes’ investigation to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.
The matter is still pending, according to Amanda Papillion Larkins, spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office.