Tables turn on lawyer who accused cabbie of extortion

Radio host faces count of false claim

A lawyer and former radio host who accused a taxi driver of aiming a video camera under her dress last year, then trying to extort her with the footage, now faces a count of making false statements about the incident.

In the meantime, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office has refused charges of voyeurism and extortion against the cabbie, Hervey Farrell.

The tangled affair, which includes a civil lawsuit filed against Jennifer Gaubert by Farrell this year, revolves around a drunken cab ride in April 2012 that began on Bourbon Street after Gaubert spent a festive night at Galatoire’s restaurant.

According to a brief police synopsis, Gaubert climbed over the front seat of the cab and “began touching (Farrell) on his crotch. Mr. Farrell videotaped the incident and can clearly be seen verbally and physically denying (her) advances.”

Farrell originally sought battery charges against Gaubert, claiming she accosted him.

A simple battery charge was filed against her in Municipal Court shortly after the incident, but the City Attorney’s Office dropped the count in April.

Cannizzaro’s office refused the charges against Farrell, 38, late last week.

Gaubert claimed to police that Farrell sent an e-mail to her attorney saying he would drop the battery complaint in return for money — purportedly asking for tens of thousands of dollars at one point, according to a recent story on Nola.com.

But that claim was false, a law enforcement source said.

“The arrest warrant says the extortion demand was made to her attorney,” the source said. “That never happened. She made a claim to a certain (officer) and that individual took her at her word and put out an arrest warrant.”

Cannizzaro’s office filed the charge against Gaubert on Friday for “false statements concerning denial of constitutional rights.” Conviction on the charge could bring a sentence of one to five years in prison or a fine of $100 to $1,000.

Farrell filed his civil lawsuit against Gaubert in early March.

In a phone interview on Monday, Farrell said he never contacted Gaubert’s attorney and shot the video of Gaubert with his smart phone only as a precaution.

“I didn’t feel comfortable. It’s a risky job. Either people are robbing cab drivers or killing cab drivers. I recorded it to protect myself,” Farrell said. “She put false charges on me, dude. I spent almost 40 hours in (Orleans Parish Prison) for something I didn’t do. I’m the victim. If I didn’t have that video, guess where I’d be right now?”

Gaubert, 32, went to law school at LSU and was admitted to the bar in 2006. Her Web site, www.lolwithjen.com, appears to have been taken down a month ago, and her radio show on WGSO, “Law Out Loud,” ended around the time of the incident. Gaubert said she hasn’t recorded a radio show since April 2012.

She declined to discuss the case Monday, referring questions to her attorney, Buddy Spell, who said that “a comment at this juncture would be premature.”

Gaubert is expected to appear in court soon, although no date has been set.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Oct. 1 to reflect that the district attorney’s office never filed charges against Farrell.