Dr. Anna Pou – the physician arrested in the deaths of four patients at a New Orleans hospital after Hurricane Katrina – filed suit against the Louisiana Attorney General on Monday, accusing him of using her arrest to fuel his re-election bid.
The suit, filed in state court in Baton Rouge, also seeks to force the state to provide a legal defense for Pou against civil lawsuits filed by families of three of the patients.
Last year, State Attorney General Charles Foti claimed Pou and two nurses killed four people with a “lethal cocktail” at Memorial Medical Center during the chaotic conditions after the August 2005 storm. The four were among at least 34 who died at the sweltering, flooded hospital in the days following Katrina. Pou, who is free on bond, has not been formally charged. A New Orleans grand jury is looking into the case.
Foti had Pou arrested, “called an international press conference the next day to announce the arrest, made extra judicial comments totally contrary to the Rules of Professional Responsibility, and culminated the week’s activity with an attorney general fund raiser to showcase his `achievements’ in the arrest of Dr. Pou and the two nurses,” the suit says.
Foti was not immediately available for comment when telephoned Monday afternoon.
The lawsuit says that Foti, although he turned the case over to the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office, has an assistant acting as a prosecutor before the New Orleans grand jury investigating Pou. The lawsuit says that is a conflict of interest.
Pou and nurses, Lori Budo and Cheri Landry, were arrested and booked with second-degree murder after Foti’s office investigated the case. Foti said the women put desperately ill patients to death using a lethal injection of drugs, after determining that the patients were either too ill or too incapacitated to be moved following Katrina.
The cases against Budo and Landry were dropped after they were compelled to testify before the grand jury last month.